Being in the moment on an old tractor
by Rick Watson
Jul 31, 2011 | 1575 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
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Inspiration is a strange and elusive thing. People often ask me how I come up with ideas for my columns. When I have an interesting encounter, or experience some personal calamity (which often happens), it’s an instant topic. Sometimes I hear or read something that sparks an idea and I’m off and running, but at other times, ideas are as scarce as cheap gas.

I have a number of things I do when I’m uninspired — I’ll look at old photographs, riffle through my old souvenir drawer, or read a book of quotations.

Normally one of these provide a sparkle of inspiration and I’m good to go. None of these techniques helped this week. So, I went to Plan B — I walked down to the barn, fired up the tractor, and set out to bushhog the better part of Walker County.

The weatherman had predicted evening thunder showers and there were clouds inching down from the north. I could smell rain on the wind, but I heard no thunder, so I bushhogged on.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, it cast an erie tint to the approaching storm clouds. The sky began to color. The only words that came to mind to describe that shade of yellow, orange, and grey, were angry butterscotch.

I could feel inspiration seeping in around the corners of my mind. I knew immediately that Plan B was the right choice.

When I get on my tractor, something interesting happens. Stress and worry dissipate like cash at a casino. I’m not sure if it’s the wind on my face, the drone of the engine, the smell of freshly cut grass, or if it’s something primal and unknowable. But when I’ve been fretting over a decision or situation, just sitting in that tractor seat for a while, brings me into the moment. It’s almost like kicking my mind out of gear.

Being in the moment is rare. I’ve spent too much of my life either replaying some event from the past over and over, or worrying about some future event. Why is that? I’m not sure if this is a recent phenomenon brought on by life that always seems to move too fast, or if it’s as old as mankind.

In order to get everything done we have to multi-task, which means you do several things but you rarely do them as well as you could if you focused on one thing at a time.

But being in the moment, slows life down. When life slows down, you can often work out complex problems in your sub conscience, so that you make better decisions when you do get back to the work at hand.

I’m sure people have various ways of getting into the moment. Meditation does it, and I’ve heard people say that jogging provides a similar mental get-away.

I’m not sure if bushhogging would work for everyone, but it works for me. As I bushhogged, I not only came up with the idea for this column, but I wrote a chorus to a new song, and made a personal decision that’s been bugging me for months.

The beauty of this approach is that not only do I get inspired and solve problems, buy my property looks great.