It has been a busy day again. Once more, when the time came around for Holly’s afternoon walk, I felt tired and didn’t want to go. I faffed around for as long as possible. I am very good at faffing. World class. It is a rare and undervalued skill. I have had the skill from a very young age. I am a natural faffer. As was my father before me. It is, I think inherited, although experts still disagree on whether there is a genetic factor to faffing. Many believe that faffing is purely cultural – a learnt behaviour. Whatever the case, I have the ability to faff almost indefinitely, having honed my natural talent through prolonged periods of practice.
Eventually, though, guilt overcame reluctance. Wellies on. Treats and poo-bags in pockets. Find the lead. And we’re off.
I have left it late again. Like yesterday, dusk is soon upon us. Like yesterday, it is stunningly beautiful.
It is different to yesterday. Less pink. More blues and purples. Darker. A more ominous beauty. It still stops me in my tracks.
We walk a different route to yesterday. Up and over Windmill Hill. Across the road. Through the gate. Up the track across the field. Left at the muddy intersection with the Homer path and on to the tail end of Wenlock Edge.
As we reach the top of the Edge, a small herd of deer materialise on the horizon. Fallow. Eight to ten of them. We all freeze for a moment. Shocked by each other. Unsure how to react.
The deer react first and are off. Too quick for me to get a photo. Holly gives chase but a confused pheasant crosses her path. She makes an executive decision that he is more her natural line of prey (she being half spaniel) and she veers off at a right angle.
I photograph a tree and wait for her unsuccessful return.
As we walk on, I ponder what I might write about today. There are several ideas bubbling. There usually are. Inevitably one rises to the top. It usually just feels easier to write about today. And, being lazy, I usually opt for the easiest option. Then, if I am lucky, as I write, opportunities present themselves to weave the other ideas into the main theme.
Other times, a theme just seems so important that I have to write about it. With that sort of writing, the main idea just obliterates the opposition who just have to hope that they are interesting enough to survive until a later date.
Then there are days like today when I just cannot decide, so I just keep on writing. Hoping that something will happen. A path emerge. Really, I am just faffing around again. It’s ok. It comes naturally to me. I enjoy the process.
Here is another tree.
Actually, the same tree from a slightly different angle. Nice, though.
Now, I have to admit that I think that this post is beginning to stray into new territory. Uncharted waters. I believe that what I am doing in this post is something that I have not done before. I am now faffing as I write. Or writing as I faff. The distinction is unclear. Perhaps I am writing faff. Or, is it better to say that I am faffing live. Yes, think of this as a kind of Masterclass in The Art of Faffing.
But try not to think too deeply. For the essence of faffing lies in the stubborn refusal to fully engage with one’s subject matter. To resist the urge to go into any depth. On any subject. At all.
Rather, one should aim to go with the flow. Enjoy skating superficially across the surface of your ideas. Move freely and elegantly across the varied landscape of your mind.
Which makes faffing sound shallow. Which I suppose it is in one way. But not really. Or, at least, it is not unimportant. It is just as important as Deep Thinking. It’s just that Deep Thinking is Serious,so people tend to think that it is Important. It’s not necessarily either of those things. Faffing and Deep Thinking are equally Important. It’s just that there is a time and a place for everything. Sometimes, we need to concentrate and think deeply about things. To get an Answer. But not always. Sometimes we need to stay looser, more open, thinking more fluidly. In order to get Questions.
People often think Solving Problems needs Deep Thinking. Which it does. But to come up with the best, most creative solutions, you need to spend some time thinking about questions first. You need to faff around a bit first.
Here’s my gift for today. Whoever came up with this idea, I bet they were just faffing around: