“Oh I can waste a minute or two or hundreds…

that’s not a problem for me,” she says with ease.

Not a confession.

Just a statement of truth.

I envy her this. For I cannot dawdle.


Not for long anyway.

I sit to stare out this window

to dream and gaze and wonder…

and immediately lines are dancing in my head,

words are forming into lines

pearls on a string

making hay with all

the wonder, the dream, the gaze.


It is all a poem, a painting.

Every leaf trembles with meaning.

Every tree and bush offers revel and rhyme.

Every brook sings sweetly of a tune from another land.

I hear it everywhere.

Under my chair, in laughter, in tears.

It perches on the feeder and roams in the woods.

It calls my name always to come play,

to paint and draw and make much.

This is why I have such a hard time wasting any minutes.

For even while staring out a window

I’m seeing and hearing …

and trying to decipher what I’m to do with all this beauty.



I have been making a concerted effort to just sit and stare out a window. Or to sit outside, which is definitely my preference, regardless of the yo-yo weather we are having here in NC. My intention each day is to be aware of where I am, look up, take in the surroundings of what my daily life brings. I’m drawing and sketching more of this in an effort to sink deeply into these moments. Or at least for the time period it takes to draw what I see out the window, or whilst sitting in our living room, or my studio. I’m also coming home from daily walks and sketching something I’ve seen. This is often from memory, but sometimes from a photo. That first drawing was made from a photo I took while walking at Reynolda Gardens last week. Nearly every step was so full of drawable-ness I could scarcely breathe let alone snap a pic with my phone.

All the world alive with loveliness. It is sometimes too much for me. I have to reign it in somehow and just be content with only one drawing, or just a sketch or two. I wish, oh golly how I wish, I could take in all that I see and hear and transpose it into my sketchbook. The doing of these drawings is less about having something to show, and more about grafting into my being all that I see, all that I hear. To somehow tattoo onto my heart and mind these lovely things so that in bleaker times I can remember them. So that when beauty is scarce, my heart is trained to look for, find and record the flowers that are blooming next to the carnage of a dying bush.

Dawdling does not come as easy for me as it does for my dear oldest daughter whose words open the poem. I am drawing inspiration from her and making an effort to dawdle more, to “waste” a few minutes or more (if indeed it is a waste!) by just looking, resting my eyes on what is around me, and holding my hands at bay for a little while before they burst into lines and splattered paint. I know it is not a waste. Not at all. It is the crucial ingredient for an artful life.

I hope you can dawdle a bit today too!


For more on dawdling, drawing, seeing our lives, and living with artful eye…

check out…

A practice of drawing your life in a sketchbook.


6 thoughts on “Dawdle

  1. Jackie Donohoe says:

    Darling Jennifer,

    A spring of living water has to keep flowing…it cannot “dawdle”…it keeps flowing with beautiful refreshing water. That is what you were born to do…refresh others.

    Lovingly, Jackie

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      Jackie I love your encouragement here! It does keep flowing! The word “dawdle” is even active in its description. I think of it as slowing down and allowing oneself to be refilled, refueled. A quiet space to reconnect with the source of one’s spring. I found this quote from a government document about the maintenance of springs: “An important step in protecting and managing the spring supply is defining the spring’s source area.” For me, dawdling is all about reconnecting with our Source, an active, and not stagnant, work we must do daily. Many blessings to you today Jackie! With much love…Jennifer

  2. Fran Patterson says:

    Jennifer– Another lovely poem.. You inspired me to write one as well…. I relate to your “yoyo” weather.
    Here in Texas I would classify it as “Bi-Polar” One week in Jan. it was almost 70 degrees at the first of the week, in the mid-teens in the middle and back up ito the 60’s at the end!


    Do I dare say “NO”
    to an invitation to walk and talk–
    In the cold wet rain
    with iced wind blowing in our faces?

    NOT from you, my Sweet–
    For who knows how many days we have left
    to laugh and share?

    Let us bare the weather’s foes
    and bundle up with hats and coats
    to fuel the warmth inside our hearts.

    Fran Patterson

    Can’t wait to order your book…
    an Artful life Primer….
    Keep on inspiring us… Lv.. F

  3. Cheryl Wright says:

    I think of dawdling as sitting, looking at and appreciating what I see, not to gather information, solve problems, siphon comfort or even inspiration. Instead, for me, dawdling is simply pure and unadulterated sitting, looking and appreciating the world around me and doing so leisurely and with joy and gratitude.

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