Futility and its Lessons
Futility is and can be described as many things. I’ll even grant that it is often in the eye of the beholder of it – or shall I say the one noticing it.
Today, I sit in my office, in my apartment, waiting for the landscaping company to finish all the mowing of grass and the blowing of leaves so that I can get back to some recording.
This lawn mowing is of course, during the spring, summer, and fall, a weekly occurrence. However, in the autumn as the leaves fall off of the trees and pile up everywhere sometimes people get strange ideas.
I don’t know what is actually more futile – that a young woman wearing a leaf-blower has been blowing leaves off of the driveway here for the last 20 minutes or that I was watching her do it.
I had to watch. I had to take in the sheer futility of it and just wonder what the purpose could possibly be. Of course people are all concerned about controlling where the leaves lay and pile up. I get that.
However, as she is using this gas-powered machine (not environmentally friendly) to blow the leaves off of the driveway just up onto the curb, she no sooner does this, than another wind blows, nature’s wind, and leaves whisk their way back on to the driveway.
Now that is the ultimate in futility. It is senseless and purposeless. It is an activity pursued that yields absolutely nothing except the pollution of the air and the noise pollution that we all have to endure.
Perhaps blowing leaves into a wind that is blowing them back at you is as valid as being a road construction crew digging up pieces of road because, well, you have the tools right?
Is futility a teacher? I think it can be. If we think about this leaf-blowing woman, literally standing outside my window right now blowing the leaves into a wind that is blowing them right back at her, what could the lesson or lessons in this be?
What comes to mind in the way of lessons is the following:
- If it appears to be obvious – it is.
- It is important to be observant lest one end up mired in futility.
- Time is well wasted all-too-often.
- Just because we have certain tools doesn’t mean we have the conditions within which to use them. Some tools are best left collecting dust.
- Emotional tools must be used wisely and timely.
- People need something to do.
- Some jobs are time fillers.
- Human beings are far too controlling.
- Let nature take its course.
- Watching – that is really observing the unbelievable can make frustration less painful. Observing it while trying really hard not to judge it.
- In the battle of human vs nature – nature wins in the end.
- Something ventured that is futility personified does not yield purpose. It is not time used wisely. Nothing is gained.
- Frustration at watching the futile can give you time to think if you just breathe and accept that it is going to continue until the person creating the futility moves on.
I must admit, it gave me quite a good and timely laugh. I often get the same feeling or have the same perception, here in our Canadian winters (what’s left of them what with Global Warming and all) of the futility that is shovelling snow in the middle of a blizzard. But, hey, people continue to do it.
And the last question I ponder over the experience of watching futility in action today is:
What is more futile, being the one who is creating futility or being the one observing it? Either way futility is the winner.
© A.J. Mahari 2007
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