Taking the vapors

It was only a drive to Walmart for god sake. It wasn’t supposed to yield anything other than me finally getting my oil changed.

I am about 1,000 miles over and so, the importance of getting it changed is growing with each day.

I set out this morning on the 20 minute drive to Walmart, not even remotely thinking photographs. But me being me, the camera bag in the trunk of the car had one of my Sony Alphas and so as I pulled out onto Walker Road and saw the beginning of twilight happening in the distance, I pulled in to get the camera out.

I happened to be right beside a pond and the early morning vapor from the pond was making a soothing image against the warming glow of the horizon.

A few minutes later I was back in the car again with oil on my mind. But another pond further up the road beckoned to me with its vapors and I stopped, reversed, and took a few more shots.

Once again on the road, I continued on my oil search but as I came out of a bend I noticed the skies were now beginning to paint some of the clouds red and while no vapors were present, there was some seeding grass in the field that gave me reason to stop.

I am sure those that drove by were wondering what on earth that old guy was doing crouched in the field. They probably couldn’t see the camera in my hands so perhaps they surmised that I had been caught short.

Another few minutes and I was back on the road again, only to spot a thick bank of fog sweeping across the road and into the nearby field. I just had to stop and take a shot.

I hope you enjoy this little collection of random images from my stops.

So, by the time I made it to Walmart, there were four or five cars ahead of me, even though they wouldn’t be open for another fifteen minutes. A two hour wait loomed, so I thought better of it and figured my oil change would be another day!

First thought in my head of course was that if I hadn’t taken four stops along the way I might have beaten all of those cars.

But then, I realized that I had subconsciously set my priorities and that I should be happy with how it all played out.

And I am. I mean, those images are not likely to win me any prizes but that isn’t the point. Stopping and allowing myself to breathe in each scene had such a calming and relaxing effect on my morning. It was almost a drug-level sedative that left me feeling all warm and mellow as I pulled back out of Walmart and took the journey home.

The fact that it began with vapors reminded me of of an ancient phrase that I had heard when I was a child. Taking the vapors was seen as a quiet relaxing pastime that reflected back to Roman times (and possibly longer) when people would travel to natural baths to breathe in the vapors of the warm waters.

It was seen as a getaway from whatever pressing things they had to do back then and for me at least, this morning presented me with the same getaway.

Many times before you have heard me talking about enjoying the journey rather than focusing on the destination. And that was certainly the case today.

But beyond that, there was the realization that when we prioritize chores in ahead of more relaxing or quieter pastimes, we actually sell ourselves short.

Yes, the chore eventually has to be done. Otherwise an engine might seize and leave me stranded on a highway.

But chores should always be prioritized lower than the really important moments in our lives.

Whether it is time with the kids, the pets, or time just breathing in the vapors, these are the moments that provide the correct fill for a full life.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that busying ourselves out with things that must be done is certainly a way to get through life, but perhaps not the best way. Stop and smell the roses sometimes. And in the absence of roses, breathe in the vapors!