Tuesday, 13 August 2013

...on trying to catch the bus...

During my twenties I lived in London England for three years!

One famous icon of London living was the relationship with the double decker bus herds. They came from every direction, thundering red, snorting blue, nostrils flared, galloping Piccadilly. The rear flank lay open,  platform yawning wide...a vertical cylinder gleaming yellow, grew stage centre mocking any attempt to run, jump, grasp and ride!

Red paint swaying wild, full in roaring gallop rounds the bend, bears down hard and I begin the sprint. The double storied scarlet mane flows horizontal heady... taunting...catch me if you can. Being young and not to be outdone, I make a flat-out mad dash for the back platform’s solicitation, grab the gleaming pole and swing on and around with victory’s laugh.

Reality now, decades later, is that if I were to run after that same mount today, my mind would actually engender the idea of lessening my years by at least twenty or so and I would believe that there would be a good chance of reaching my goal. Focus would quickly become clear that no matter how fast I would run, the red stallion would gallop away, leaving my legs glued in the wet cement of reality!

In young, middle age and sometimes later on, we chase our proverbial red stallions to carry us off to our dreams. Tying our very self esteem and ideas of success to saddling the next platform, we often strive with drive and dash to ‘make it’...to grab the next pole and swing upward to find life’s fulfillment. 

So, what of chasing platforms, goals, dreams and desires? Are they inherently wrong? Of course not! We all have been given gifts and talents to develop and nurture for the betterment of our lives and the larger community. We should be continually dreaming dreams, big and small, risking opportunities red platforms and golden poles to grab no matter what season of life we find ourselves.

Engagement however, isn’t always the constant flat out rush of risk taking and goal setting. We also need the rest of green, space for peace and the sounds of silence to imbibe all that is beauty, swirling it slowly and well, squeezing out all the flavour of pleasure we’ve been given to enjoy! 

My personal tendency throughout life has been to be forever running after the next red bus, looking for the next platform instead of living fully engaged in the moment at hand...recently a couple of special friends have suggested to me the idea of ‘unwrapping the present of the present.’ Slowly, senses fully alight, press me to enjoy just today, savouring the mystery of what lies just below the colourful paper of the ‘right now’ and peel it back with revelled anticipation, enjoying this very moment with expectancy. I often forget or sometimes am just too lazy to climb up to life’s second deck saddle and enjoy sitting quietly as the breezes of now blow through my hair. 

How many of the millions who’ve climbed on and off red line London buses, took time to explore the wonder of the multitudinal nooks and craneys of one of the worlds most exciting cities? Not too many, as I watched them stare into the hollow grey nothingness of complete detachment...seeing only grey!

What of the idea of just sauntering slowly...or...purposely missing the next bus so that we could stroll a while, smell the lilacs mauve fragrance, listen to identify the birds song as they dive, rollicking above the Thames or breathe deeply the air of joy at being enveloped in Big Ben’s reverberating ring!

I know, I know...all of my younger friends are saying, ‘give me a break...That’s easy for you to say!’ We have to make a living! And yes, some of my older friends look at me sideways with the disdain of what to them is unintelligible thinking!

I concur that these days are slightly less deadline driven, although for me, deadlines keep me sharp! In my tendency toward drivenness however, the passion to succeed and develop further, which I’m afraid will be my modus operendi until I drop, I am learning that purposely missing the bus occasionally and taking ten minute strolls helps me keep some balance. A good camera personally sends me to another place where I sink behind the viewfinder and compose! 

It may be that waiting to catch the next bus could bring more profound and greater value than running after the one that has just sped away. Too often in later years where tendency gives rise to give up all hope of ones deep heart longings ever being fulfilled, we can walk completely away from our life’s work, contributions to others lives, turning our back on the idea of waiting for any bus at all. 

For me...I’ve been on a long and yes, sometimes painful, arduous journey. I never want to stop catching the excitement of the next ride, the next corner to explore and risk to take. Simultaneously however, I am trying to choose to watch the giant red thunder come galloping from a distance, smiling at its power and magnetic pull, but intentionally letting it pass. In so doing I choose to ponder and process so that when the next mount arrives, I can more fully engage in that experience rather than just numbly reacting and just exisiting.

I’m choosing to chew and taste deeply, working through both the full bodied sad purple ports of life, that sometimes lay heavy and thick on my palette but also learning to revel and let roll the newer sweet perfumed light and bubbly Rosé experiences around the tongue of life today!


  1. This post sounds like my friend is in a fresh new exciting season...grateful, reflective and still young at heart :)
    A great reminder - to miss a few buses!

  2. A great post Doug. You have a winsome, engaging style that is much appreciated. I resonate with always trying to catch the next bus (always assuming the next bus will be faster and more thrilling than the last).

    1. Thanks Steve...appreciate it...long time since we did London together eh!