Near Miss

Wait! Frantically I chased the bus trying to catch the driver’s attention. Brakes screeched and exhaust puffed as he threw open the door and impatiently waved me in. Out of breath from my unexpected sprint, I leaped onto the bus which jerked roughly into motion. Why does everything seem so urgent?

Ear shattering noises blasting from my alarm clock that morning had startled me into reality. Abusing the snooze button meant ultimately springing from bed in a hasty rush. After a speedy shower I dressed in a hurry and dashed out of my front door to see the bus pulling away.

And from now on I should hurry! I nearly missed it!

Anxiety at work as constant emails popped up. Between fast-paced phone calls I zipped out for a quick lunch and realized in a panic that I was late to a meeting. Choking down a sandwich while running, I flew through the doors of the conference room just as the meeting began.

Frazzled and heading home, the congested commute included a hectic stop by the crowded market before charging off to meet others at a restaurant across town. The cab was late, I anxiously begged the driver to speed up, and barely made it before losing the reservation.

Busy Saturday’s numerous errands included a breakneck trip to the dry cleaners before stopping by the bank. Next, off to the post office. Back towards home to drop off the car for repairs before the mechanic closed. Heavy traffic and honking horns added to the stress of trying to make it in time.

And from now on I should hurry! I nearly missed it!

Breathe. Calmly, I began the next morning determined to take it easy. Though always much to do, this day would not suffer the angry push from an alarm clock. Lusciously aromatic steam billowed from my coffee cup as I eased into the cushioned chair on the patio outside. The fountain trickled peacefully in the background.

Beautifully, a cardinal sang from a branch in the maple as a nearby squirrel gave himself a lazy scratch behind the ear. Two small white butterflies danced and drifted as a pair across the garden. A fuzzy bumblebee covered in pollen took his time crawling over marigolds blooming under the crepe myrtle.

Gracefully, a sparrow floated down to land at the edge of the fountain. The little bird dipped its beak into the water, ruffled its feathers, and with eyes closed sat motionless in the early sunshine for several minutes. No sound. No movement. That tiny fellow had made a decision to find some peace in that moment. A valuable lesson.

And from now on I should slow down. I nearly missed it.

Stuart M. Perkins



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79 responses to “Near Miss

  1. Garrie Madison Stoutimore

    Your story seems altogether too familiar. I rush through the week and then rush on the weekend to cram in all the things I wasn’t able to do during the week. My solution was to rise earlier. I get up at 5AM, sip a cup of coffee while I check my email and the headlines. Then it’s time (and here’s the key to my survival) for prayer. Once prayer time is over it’s back to the hamster wheel, but somehow not quite so crazy.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Beautiful resonance with the peaceful grace of patience, Stuart.

  3. Aimer Boyz

    “I should slow down. I nearly missed it.”
    Yes and Yes and Yes 🙂

  4. Francisco Laguna

    Rushing … we all nearly miss the joys of life and their importance. Great story for Thanksgiving, Stuart!

  5. Time for us all to slow down I think. “The more hurry the less speed” me da always used to say 😉

  6. It’s good to ‘hear’ from you, Storyshucker! I nearly missed you! Great story with a great lesson…Happy Thanksgiving!🍂

  7. There’s a saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” Stopping and taking in the serenity of the garden is a good respite from all the hassles. Great reminder, Storyshucker. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  8. Scottie

    Reblogged this on Scotties Toy Box and commented:
    We all get wrapped up in our own business, needs, and the hectic pace of life. Here is a great post on the true things we should be willing to slow down for. Our sanity, health, and inner peace Hugs

  9. Always a thoughtful post….this one especially good. Thanks.

  10. Glad you found that chance to slow down & enjoy connection with nature for a while. I find it helps me to relax & recharge too.

  11. Loved this piece. I am continually amazed at how time seems to expand when I stop rushing. Took me a very long time to stop holding overwhelming busyness in high regard.

  12. A perfect and timely reminder. Thanks.

  13. Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

  14. Fantastic blog post! I hate it whenever I have to rush before I have to leave my home for a few hours. I like to give myself time to get ready to do something before I actually do that.

    Please enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  15. Paulina Radzisauskas

    Great story as Always!!!

  16. Precious meaning behind the of-so-familiar story.
    However, if I’m on that bus, rushing to where I need to be and you take forever to get onto it… I can’t guarantee I would remember to breath and take it easy.

  17. A really the way you described the RUSH that most of the people can somewhat relate to and I LOVE the way you write.

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

    Warm regards to you and family 😊

  18. Jen

    Reblogged this on Birds, Blooms and all things Beautiful and commented:
    Busy with Thanksgiving preparations but so enjoyed this blog that I decided to post for others to enjoy. Stewart is a wonderful story teller… browse his site, you’ll be glad you did!

    Happy Thanksgiving all, we have much to be thankful for!


    • Jen

      Hey, never re-blogged before, didn’t know my comments would appear here and was not able to delete, if you could for me, thanks! Great to get another story from you, Happy thanksgiving!

  19. Wonderful story as always. I can’t imagine living such a crazy hectic week. I’ve never really been in the rat race. Glad you could find time to take in nature and find peace.

  20. Breathe. As you noted, taking a conscious breath makes a world of difference. Glad you didn’t miss out on THAT, Stuart!

  21. Neat post. I’ll think of your blog when I go through my list of things I’m grateful for at Thanksgiving. Cheers, Muriel

  22. What a wonderful commentary on “modern” life and how to find peace and serenity from a little sparrow’s doings. Thank you for a great post and happy Thanksgiving.

  23. Nice one Stuart, it does pay to stop and smell the birdsong!

  24. Jan Stankovich

    ….and THAT is exactly how I feel during the summer, sitting under those twin oaks in Noodie’s backyard…such a balm in a crazy world! Thank you for sharing!!

  25. As always, the eloquence of your descriptions and your insights into the “small things” in life make this piece sing.

  26. Fascinating piece of writing! I liked the transition from the anxiety driven tempo to the calm atmosphere of a tranquil weekend morning. Well done!

  27. Your hurrying made my stomach contract. Then I stretched out and relaxed with you sitting on your patio. Your words created and communicated the moods of speed and leisure. Wonderful story.

  28. Your voice is always a welcomed gift to my inbox. Thank you.

  29. You are a writer after my own heart, Stuart. Thank you for this. In Africa, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the same way you do, but nevertheless, have much for which we can be grateful. Here is how I spent the day you celebrated and I give thanks for it, even it may not be conventional: Sorry for the long comment but I hope you enjoy it:

    We had been driving for a while. We had seen many amazing things. Peering across acres of grassland we had spotted a variety of animals – zebra, wildebeest, impala .,, all beautiful in the early morning sunlight.
    Travelling west, the countryside ahead of us possessed a clarity after the rains of the previous day, and the light was perfect for photographs. But what we were to witness in the next few moments was too remarkable for us to take photos.
    We spotted them about a 500m ahead of us. A herd of giraffe, browsing in the trees, As we exclaimed at the beauty of the sight they all sprang to attention and stared up the hill towards the track on which we were to travel. As one, they turned and began to run through the grassland. Stretching out legs and necks, they galloped at full speed away from their delicious trees.
    The large male allowed the smaller animals to run on then stopped and turned to see whether the danger, whatever it was, still threatened them. He stood, tense, ready for action.
    Fight or flight, we wondered.
    But his body relaxed and his companions slowed. How had he communicated with them? He turned and walked towards them, and they once again began to browse on the small trees that now surrounded them, their long necks bent to pull the delectable leaves from the short thorny bushes.
    We continued on our way. We had a destination in mind – a drive of about five kilometres which, under normal circumstances, would take about ten minutes in this place where the speed limit is so low.
    But that was without interruptions. And as we rounded a corner we saw, coming towards us, perhaps the biggest interruption in our world at that time.
    For here was the threat the giraffe had detected.
    A lioness and her young cub paced towards us along the track. Unperturbed by our presence, she padded along the road, stopping now and again to let her youngster catch up. The little one was taking her time and even sat on the side of the road for a while to rest. With all the patience (and time) in the world, the mother waited until her daughter was ready to move on and they continued their stroll.
    As the adult approached our vehicle we stopped breathing. She was magnificent, her coat tawny, her eyes bright, taking in her surroundings. She drew level with us and stopped, looking directly at us, taking in any possible threat we may pose to herself and her cub. No one moved. No one even breathed. The only sound was cameras clicking softly as some recorded the moment. I just sat and watched. She was only five metres away. Much larger than I had imagined. I knew no photo would recall the magic of the moment; the thrill of fear as I looked straight into the eyes of a fully grown lion.
    Amber eyes,
    Penetrating and focused.
    Was she assessing the possibility of an easy breakfast?
    But she is used to seeing people sitting quietly in a vehicle and we did not appear to pose a threat. So she glanced back, checking the progress of her baby, and walked past us, her huge feet leaving pug marks in the mud the size of side plates. The youngster, who had also paused when her mother did, picked up speed and, with a wary eye on us as she passed us, trotted on. Together they went on their way as we strained to watch them until they were hidden from sight.
    The wonder of the moment painted our day with colour. We saw other wonderful things. But that second, when I gazed into the eyes of a lioness as she stared at me is one I will never forget. If I had been taking photos I may have missed the thrill of the moment. Some experiences are too exceptional to capture as a picture and have to be felt rather than seen. I am glad I don’t have a picture, for the images in my mind and the emotion I felt will stay forever, captured now in the written word.

    I love being a writer!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Stuart!

  30. Small shifts make big differences. It often takes perspective to enjoy life’s peaceful adventures.

  31. So glad you recognized the bird’s lesson and heeded it’s advice. Enjoy the weekend.

  32. I felt the pace of the harried beginning and was happy to slow down with a cup of coffee. Nice post, I was right there.

  33. Some powerful imagery there. One of the things I really hate in life is being late, or not having the space to get my head together before anything happens. So I get more sleep, enjoy the space I do have and get to places early so I can be like sparrow.

    Thanks for sharing

  34. And I nearly missed this! Hope you had a happy thanksgiving holiday and thank you for reminding me not to be on a perpetual treadmill that isn’t taking me anywhere!

  35. Well Done, a wonderful story about the joys of Sunday in a fast paced city. Loved this story.

  36. “Lusciously aromatic steam billowed from my coffee cup…” love this! Your story captures every flash of daily hustle and bustle, and the lovely reminder that sometimes we have to unchain ourselves from the clock!

  37. Wow, what a truly fantastic piece this is. I sincerely enjoyed and your use of the rule of 3 is so well done!

  38. rockinroxrox

    I just wanted to write and thank you for following me at Aspire to Write. I have just recently got back into the habit of posting and trying to maintain a following, so it was a big encouragement to receive the notice that I had a new follower. From what I’ve skimmed through on your blog, your work is fantastic, and I look forward to taking the time to read your posts in greater detail. Again, thank you so much for your support!

  39. Karen

    The art of slowing down is a upstream battle!

  40. It is true.. it is the small things that truly bring joy in life! It is a discipline and later a joy that becomes the content of our lives – of course, if we choose to 🙂

    Great post!

  41. 👍🏻I wager there are more missed moments than treasured ones, Stuart. So glad you stopped to enjoy a few of them. 😉

  42. Did you know, everytime you chase a butterfly, you risk making it fly away, the more? but if you sit down and turn your head to other things, the butterfly just comes and sits on your shoulder? Food for thought? Hell yeah, I learned that too.

  43. TimeHasNoMeaning

    So related to this! Thank you for putting some things into words I couldn’t. Enjoyed this!

  44. Intuitive Chef Gail Blair

    Thank you Stuart for such a sweet story and beautiful message. You are a gift that keeps on giving!

  45. Love the fact that you were able to tell your experience in a form of story. I could imagine it. Nicely written. I want to write like that, but for some reason, the words don’t come to me easily. 🙂

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