Doug Bruns

Less schedule, more spontaneity…

In Nature, The Examined Life on August 11, 2012 at 6:00 am

Paddling a new direction.

Last fall I wrote a micro-essay here that, in closing, included this sentence.

“I can talk with a modicum of intelligence, say, about the life and thought of Nietzsche but I cannot tell you anything about a tree at the dog park. This is deeply troubling to me and I am setting out to rectify it.”

I have, since girding myself with resolve, been good to my word–and the change-up has been reflected here. Less philosophy, fewer books, more nature, more observation. I don’t anticipate that’s going to change any time soon.


There has been less time for writing too. I am studying for the registered Maine guide license. The test is next month, written and oral. Too, I hope next year to begin a program of study toward becoming a Certified Master Naturalist. That has put me into the field more, with more time spent over guide books and journals, less time spent with novels and essays. Getting into the program is questionable. I am long on humanities, short on science. The autodidact in me has kicked into high gear, but there is only so much ground one can cover.


The ground is shifting, and I wanted to share with you, friends, why I am less here and more elsewhere. I’ve noted my obsessive tendencies and I am observing the familiar narrowing of focus I recognize as the on-set of full-blown myopia (again). It’s how I work. I’ve come to accept it. Those around me have come to accept it. So be it.


I mentioned earlier this week that I will be traveling to Maryland next week. I likely won’t be showing up here, though one can’t be sure what mood, idea, notion, grudge or gripe, might need expression. Less schedule, more spontaneity is to be anticipated.


Regardless of all that, I appreciate everyone’s eyeballs here. Thanks for reading. Have a good weekend. See you soon.


  1. Sounds fully purposeful to me. I am questioning the wisdom of my own early retirement. We will see if anything happens from this.

    • Interesting…I am hopeful that my own early retirement will force a needed shift to satisfaction with what is not going on in my life from dissatisfaction with what is going on in my life. Such a journey we’re on.

  2. Less schedule, more spontaneity. I like that mantra as fall approaches.

    During an especially busy week in July, I flipped to September of my calendar (a pocket-sized, pre-technology, month-at-a-glace type) and wrote at the top of the month’s page: Do Less.

    The language did not express my intention. What I really meant was: do less that you have to write down on the calendar. Free yourself to pursue an “interest binge” ( credit for the expression goes to a psychologist friend).

    Enjoy your interest binge, Doug! Keep us posted so as to inspire development of ours.

    • S ~ Did you read the review in today’s NYT’s book review titled How Much is Enough? It includes this quote (it made me think of your comments): “Americans value leisure, but it is expensive leisure, and so they have to work hard in order to pay for it. As a result they have less leisure time than if their preferred form of leisure were lying in a hammock, but on balance they obtain more pleasure.”

      My autodidact-driven foray in the world of nature is forcing me to do less. To sit and observe. To take a note, listen, watch. Perhaps someday I too will be able to achieve the exalted Harry-zen-state of “why alway’s do something?” whereby doing less is actually achieving more.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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