The Smell of Diesel Exhaust

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“Don’t just do something!  Stand there!”

–     Dick Heston (1933 -2002), my dad, mentor, friend and the voice I miss most

Yesterday afternoon, I drove behind a diesel tractor moving from one field to another.  The smell of diesel exhaust always takes me home, usually to memories of late nights, plowing to get ready to plant, the aroma of turned soil and diesel exhaust bringing me back to my dad.  Back home.

There are sometimes lots of moving parts.  Confusion.  Static.  Distractions.

Dad was a master at just soaking it in, and not doing something just to be busy.

Activity isn’t always our friend.  Reflective thought steps in then.  Contemplative thought.  “What if?” thought.

If today, you’ve got too much to do, don’t just do something.  Stand there, until you figure out what to do — next.


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Comments

  1. Mick Kirisits says

    Excellent, So counter intuitive!

    • Thanks, Mick! Sitting here today, trying to solve a business problem for a client — and thinking I just need to go lean on the gate and watch the calves eat for a bit…

  2. Dan Thome says

    My farm Dad always had a few standing tasks, not critical, but known, that needed doing. If something more important came up, they could be skipped. But sitting still wasn’t advocated. And they were the kinds of mind numbers that would make you think of something more productive or important to work on. They probably were seeking the same end result.

  3. John Kopp says

    A smell is a particularly strong trigger that elicit memories and a farm is loaded with “smells”. My trigger is fresh cut hay and clover… and I’m standing next to my brothers on a hay wagon, hot muggy day, waiting for my turn to pull the next bale of hay out of the baler and stack it on the wagon. Or the smell of my moms honeysuckle in full bloom. A lot of smells can illicit painful memories too…”days gone by” memories… regrets maybe. Great article Steve.

  4. Thanks, John! Regrets? Not much we can do about stuff that already happened. I’d take four or five do-overs already today if I could, but I can’t. We planted lilacs near the house because they elicit good memories for both my wife and me. Freshly cut alfalfa is right up there for me, too! I appreciate you joining the conversation!

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