The Remarkable Nature of the 5-Minute Work Break at Newell Lodge

On busy days, I argue with myself about the need for a break.

“I don’t have five minutes.”

The voice of reason counters, “Yes, you do.”

“No, I don’t.”  

And, on it goes.  On rare occasions, the voice of reason wins the argument, allowing a needed break.  

 It is quiet, and I am alone.  

This moment of complete solitude makes me uncomfortable and maybe, a little guilty.  The part of me that feels the need to push forward, do not stop, keep going raises its demanding head.  But for five minutes, I will refuse to listen as I enjoy this small slice of time.  

I will rest.  

In no rush, I walk beneath the old oak trees enjoying the unquestionable brilliance of nature.  The colossal oak trees, trickling with Spanish moss, have remained untouched for generations guarding untold stories. Would those long-ago tales of joys, struggles, accomplishments, and failures sound achingly familiar?  

The horses quietly graze in the fields, swishing their tails to keep the horseflies at bay.  The chickens roam freely, searching for their mid-morning snack, while three squirrels rush up the branches of a nearby tree. 

The quietness brings a sense of contentment all its own. 

A hoarse sound or cackle coming from a tree above me breaks the silence.  

Schur, schur, schur. 

“What is that?” I ask of no one.

As I look up into the tree, there he is.  With his crimson head and inky black wings, a beautiful woodpecker, sitting on a high limb, is partially hidden by the branches.  Quietly, carefully, I creep closer to get a better look.  

Neither of us moves nor makes a sound.  He turns his head towards me.  

“He’s getting ready to fly,” I think.  

He does not move, other than the turning of his head.  He continues to sit on his branch, watching me as I watch him.  I wait for his next move.  Long minutes pass, and suddenly, without warning, he flies away.  

As I continue my walk beneath the trees, I think of the woodpecker, wondering if maybe those were his five minutes of rest in a busy bird day.  

I return to work, relaxed and gratified. It’s remarkable what a five-minute break can do.