A holiday from purpose

New Yorkers are a driven, over-busy people, opines the New York Times (“Editorial: On the Art of Puttering”, 24 Jun 11). So too are Canberrans.

But every now and then there comes a day for puttering. You can’t put it in your book ahead of time because who knows when it will come? No one intends to putter. You simply discover, in a brief moment of self-awareness, that you have been puttering, or, as the English [and Australians] would say, pottering. [. . .] You move through the morning with a calm, oblivious focus, taking on tasks – incidental ones – in the order they present themselves, which is to say no order at all. Puttering is small-scale, stream-of-consciousness problem-solving. It is setting sail on a sea of random course changes. The day passes, and you have long since forgotten what you were looking for – or that you were looking for anything at all. You feel as though you’ve accomplished a lot, though you have no idea what. It has been a holiday from purpose.