First off, let me just say that laziness on an appropriate day is somewhat of a virtue. It’s hard to imagine anything of more merit or charm than a day spent idly dreaming, sipping iced tea or lemonade and forgetting completely the hard things in life.
Finding such a day is the key. It can’t come when you most expect it or hope for it to appear. It can’t be planned. There is simply not a good way to “plan” laziness. The best you can hope for is pure serendipity. It has to just land on you from an unknown source and suddenly it is. That’s it, really.
My dad was an avid photographer. He started carrying a 35mm around with him, a used Argus, sometime around 1940. I still have that old Argus. I still like film. He captured life with that camera: our family, the world around us and the little things that only the man with a camera could spot.
One of the premiere examples of how he worked is captured in a series of pictures that perfectly portray a lazy day. It’s the front porch of my grandmother’s little house in Brownsville, Kentucky. There is a swing, of course, and several odd chairs. Family members are lounging, swinging, sitting and talking. All of it probably took place during a period of several hours, because everyone keeps shifting positions. Some are standing, or sitting on the edge of the porch, or on the steps. Facial expressions change as conversations shift from person to person, subject to subject.
One thing remains constant, though. There is one person, my aunt Margaret, who never moves from her perch in the swing. Others join her and then are found elsewhere, but she never moves. She was quite content to remain in her place during the whole of the afternoon, observing and chatting until the sun went down, I imagine.
Since that afternoon on the porch many years have passed. As a child it was a destination that beckoned over the miles of Route 66, as we traveled for days from our home in California, finally arriving at that humble little house. Those hot summer days always wound down to time on the porch, lazily swinging as traffic passed by and neighbors gawked to see who occupied that choice seat.
Nothing has ever replaced the splendidly lazy attitude of those pictures. I’ve sat in the swing on that porch, and was reminded of those scenes, since they were so well engraved in my mind from many “slide shows” throughout my growing up years and beyond. Now, it’s a great comfort to think about all of that, the simplicity and sheer joy of contented laziness on a front porch that was so nurturing to so many.
I hope we all get some more days like that in our lives. Time to think about nothing or everything, but all of it at a pace that defies the rush to be elsewhere, doing something important.
Sometimes, being lazy is the most important thing we can be.