A young man charges forward with gusto. Always running, if not in body then in mind. Moving forward, climbing the ladder, moving up; he desperately grasps at goals. He “works” his horses and keeps track of miles and time. As middle age sets in he realizes there is only one finish line and we are all guaranteed to get there. The meandering river reaches the sea just as sure as the raging torrent and causes much less damage to the land. So like the meandering river he begins to saunter. Still with direction, still with strength, but with relaxed purpose that allows him to see the scenery, enjoy the company of humans and horses and do good.
The young man is full of ambition and drive. He moves boulders and builds with strength and sweat and an urgency to finish one job so he can be on to the next. As middle age sets in he begins to find pleasure in the work itself rather than the accomplishment. He begins to putter. He now builds walls over years, a few small rocks each day as he enjoys a glass of wine and his free-ranging chickens. The work is not effortless, but there is less effort. The accomplishments are evident over longer time scales not because he creates new but because his efforts slow entropy.