PF: Life Hack

downloadIf you read my blog regularly, or even just sometimes, you probably know that I love to go down and wander by the river at dawn. It’s a beautiful spot, and there’s always something to see. These visits center me and deepen my appreciation for the beauty around me and its subtle cycles.

Typically, I walk around and take photos from different vantages. I’m constantly moving, actively searching. One day recently, I sat on a rock by the water and just watched. The common mergansers have returned for the winter and a flock of gulls was visiting. The sunrise unfolded slowly, in increments. Nothing dramatic. No blazing reds or streaks of violet highlighting bold cloud formations. No golden spotlight rays. Simply a slow brightening. But, as I sat, the ducks swam closer, then circled back out, then came back again. Closer. They dipped and dived. They swam along the line between rill and still water. Their wake shifted color with the changing light. Gulls flew overhead, wheeling and periodically plummeting into the water with tremendous splashes. Occasionally they caught something. Most often they didn’t. The movement of their wings and the spill of water from their feathers fascinated me. I sat on a rock and took it all in. 


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I’ve been following David L. Harrison’s blog for the past few months, and he posts a Word-of-the-Month challenge. This month’s word was “hack.” Somehow, over the course of the month, my thoughts wound around to life hacks.Screen Shot 2019-11-28 at 8.49.32 AM.png

I’m sure there are different ways to interpret the term, but I think of it as a short cut designed to make a task pass faster. And it occurred to me that going faster, being more efficient, sometimes denies something essential or worthy about completing a task that takes time, dedication, or deliberation. Also, when we go faster (or walk around instead of sitting still), we can miss the nuances and subtleties.

Our culture embraces rush. So many of the “life hacks” I read about seem designed to help us move faster through our day. This seems in direct contrast to the mindfulness I’ve been trying to embrace. The being in the moment. I’ve also seen a number of articles lately about the importance of being bored in generating creativity. Somehow this is all swirling and linked up in my mind. I haven’t figured out how it all relates yet, but it’s taking up brain space for now. Perhaps some evening when I’m bored with doing dishes, yet appreciating the warmth of the water and the play of light on the bubbles, I’ll figure it out. 😉

Life Hack

A life hack? What’s that?
An illegal attack?

No, wait…it’s a trick?
To get me done quick?

But day follows day
way too fast anyway.

My life without hack
speeds by on a race track.

With hack it would fly
in the blink of an eye.

I’d never disdain
efficiency’s gain,

but there’s value to slow
to linger and grow.

Short cuts can cut more
than mere time from a chore.

Relentlessly fast
makes the present the past,

and rewards are so sweet,
when time’s made them complete.

So delayed I may be,
but no life hacks for me

©2019 Molly Hogan 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend and a chance to stop by the Poetry Friday Roundup and enjoy some poetry. This week Bridget Magee is hosting from Switzerland on her blog, wee words for wee ones. She’s sharing her thoughts on celebrating Thanksgiving from afar. I loved learning about turkey pricing and oven sizing in Switzerland, and also enjoyed her limerick tale of an unfortunate turkey. Check it out!

28 thoughts on “PF: Life Hack

  1. margaretsmn says:

    “There’s value to slow.” I agree with you and love your clever rhyme to bring it home. I hope you are having a beautiful and slow holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jama says:

    What a beautiful description of your time by the river. Mindfulness, being still and calm are so important. I’m with you about life hacks. The world really needs to slow down, take it all in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cweichel says:

    Oh Molly your post resonates deeply for me today. I am a person who likes to do embroidery, sewing, quilting and knitting. I like to make things with my hands. I love my sewing machine, but for me, when it comes to decorative stitching, that must be done with love by hand!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Have you ever read or seen “Like Water for Chocolate”? That concept intrigues me–the idea that someone’s emotions imbue their creation. I’m sure that your hand-crafted creations are filled with love and bring much joy to the recipients.


  4. haitiruth says:

    So much truth here, and I love your photography! Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My favorite couplet “Relentlessly fast
    makes the present the past,”
    Happy IPD!
    yes, indigenous people’s day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a beautiful pondering, Molly. Yes, life certainly races by. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. “There’s value to slow… to linger and grow.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Perfect. I have reflected recently that the idea of “instant”–as distinct from AN instant–was possibly the beginning of the end, starting with the invention of the instantly ignitable electric lightbulb. The idea that it is progress to flick on a light and extend our waking working instead of going to sleep in the dark–I #resist. Thank you for this. Do you know this Eve Merriam poem?

    A Lazy Thought
    By Eve Merriam

    There go the grownups
    To the office,
    To the store.
    Subway rush,
    Traffic crush;
    Hurry, scurry,
    Worry, flurry.

    No wonder
    Grown ups
    Don’t grow up
    Any more.
    It takes a lot
    Of slow
    To grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mainereader says:

    Molly, first time I’ve attempted a reply “above this line.” No idea if you’ll receive it. This post intrigues me, almost like reconciling two different parts of the essential you. Thanks for sharing your life with me.

    Sue Phillips


    Liked by 1 person

  9. maryleehahn says:

    I love your life hack poem, but even more, I love the prose poem you wrote about the sunrise. And that photo with the mergansers at the edge of rill and still…perfection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Mary Lee. You’re a fisher person, aren’t you? A relative told me that fishing people know that casting a line between rill and still is often fruitful. I love that idea.


  10. Yes to the value of slowing and lingering. Because how else would you notice those gorgeous mergansers?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tabatha says:

    We have hooded mergansers that pass through every year and I always get a thrill from spotting them. Your mornings sound like real food for the spirit. I think rushing makes it harder to nourish ourselves (both physically and emotionally).

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I often find myself torn in the mornings between sitting and writing and driving down to the water to linger and take photographs. I’m still on the lookout for hooded mergansers. I know they’re around, but we typically see the common ones. I’m also hoping to spy some harlequin ducks!


  12. So much truth in this post today, Molly. Sounds like as long as you keep up with those dawn meditations with your camera and noticing the warmth and bubbles at dishwashing time, you’re going to be just fine. Hacks shmacks.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your early morning ponderings by the water are inspiring, Molly. As is your poem. I especially like the lines:
    “there’s value to slow
    to linger and grow” – that’s a life hack I can get behind! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I am trying to remember the value of slow and not rushing through everything and allowing myself to be bored. Even though I know the value, it’s still hard. Your morning sunrise experience reminded me of the evening I watched darkness fall. I was captivated by the changing light and just being in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I am always working on this! I had an evening experience similar to yours last night. I was unexpectedly driving a fair distance as day ended, and was captivated by the changing light. The 1 1/2 hour drive flew by!


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