I really can’t watch the news anymore. I’m not burying my head in the sand, though there’s an argument to be made. I just need to keep my blood pressure in check and concern myself more with the joys of today rather than simmer in the ploys of those leading our country astray.
It is raining out, and foggy. I can’t see more than twenty feet into the river, though I can hear the geese out across the reach, and a few bufflehead ducks keep popping under the water and out again just ten feet away. The water is mirrorlike, so the rain on the surface is steady and peaceful and is the loudest sound I can hear; even the geese are far enough away now. It is a good day when the rain is the loudest sound. A few weeks ago I found similar peace walking on Antelope Island in Utah. The sense that there are no cities, no towns, no marketplaces anywhere, and no one is arguing about political matters.
I am fortunate to be able to spend a vast majority of my time in such surroundings. Most aren’t so lucky. The thing is, I don’t think you need to live like this to find balance; in fact, I’d probably go nuts if I couldn’t get to town sometimes to hear the beautiful noise of civilization doing its thing. But the opposite has become the norm; people don’t take the time, just sometimes, to hear the beautiful quiet of a starry night, or a foggy morning along the river. Even to just sit somewhere with no electronics, eyes closed, and listen to the passing of now would probably be a narcotic not available at pharmacies for those tethered to the trying struggle of life. But they don’t do it. Heart disease is up, stress-related illnesses are up, logic is down, ration is declining, the Golden Rule is just about gone, and basic human kindness has become as rare as the Great Blue Heron that just landed along the water’s edge. Seriously, how hard can it possibly be to just turn off the phone and the monitor and the broadcasting day and be silent for five minutes, find peace, make it the foundation of the day, make it the common denominator of all other activities?
When I was a child, my dad would end Christmas Day with a gift of books specifically for each of us picked out specifically by him. I can most certainly trace much of the influences in my life to those pages of adventure and travel, though now I realize those traits were something my beautiful father must have recognized in me which instigated his choices of reading material. In either case, it was the same for my siblings, and when my son was born I continued that tradition with him. It isn’t easy, particularly as he got older and older and became such a voracious reader and now works in a library; well, finding a book he hasn’t become aware of is difficult, but I love the challenge. Tomorrow I’m heading to a nautical gift shop in the village which has an excellent selection of difficult-to-find books about—go figure—adventure and travel. I’m not worried he will read this and know where I’m shopping; he probably already knows, and I don’t think he reads this blog.
But that’s just part of the benefit of the shopping trip to Nauti Nells in Deltaville. There’s also the peace that comes from leaving the phone at home and listening to the music, sampling the inevitable spread of food and drink Renelle usually puts out this time of year, traveling the world again each time I pick up a new book, and separating myself from the counter-productive, anti-relaxing, illness-inducing barrage of banter angrily occupying the world as it is. It isn’t my world. It isn’t how I choose to be.
Oh, I’ll stick my head up once in a while, fire off some blistering editorial to the paper about the need to recognize the essential neutrality of the Fourth Estate, or the cause of all this turmoil being firmly grounded in a crappy education system that needs to teach people to be better than this. Sure. But for the most part, the sand is fine, and the buffleheads, and the gentle sound of rain on the river.
3 thoughts on “There’s Time Enough, and Love”
No other comments? I guess we are all so caught up in Christmas preps and Mueller prognostications that we cannot take the time to read the musings of a retired CC Professor and world traveler… I’m not a writer, I struggled to get my dissertation to 100 pages, but I do enjoy reading someone who knows how to write and is not afraid to express his or her feelings. No, I do not agree politically, but I also do not agree with the direction we (our country) are heading and miss the intelligent discourse that, in the past. came from all sides of the political spectrum…
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This is a long ‘comment’ – be prepared. I do not live in Bob’s kind of wilderness, but his thoughts prompted me to think about where I find my own peace and pleasure. Here are a few just from the past few days–
So I was on my way to the barn yesterday evening to be with my horses. It’s too muddy and soggy to do anything with them during the day – riding is not possible and grooming would be a waste of time since I’d be turning them right back out into the muddy pasture, so evening visits have become my wet-weather normal .
It was still daylight when I left home in suburbia, but just. As I neared the barn (not in suburbia), the glorious full ‘cold moon’ surprised me just above the tree line. I knew about this moon – that it won’t happen again during the winter solstice for another 10 or 11 years – but it still caught me off guard. I couldn’t believe the drivers around me weren’t pulling over to stare at that amazing sight – a visual gift that left electricity’s best efforts (holiday lights) in the dust. When I arrived at the barn, I stood for a while just savoring the pleasure and peace of looking at that moon before I switched my focus to the horses.
Just walking into the barn makes me happy – any stress left over from the day disappears. The sounds of sixteen horses finishing their grain or munching on their hay is a familiar, calming music. Both my horses were mud monsters, of course. They really enjoy rolling in the mud – even flipping all the way over to coat their backs and haunches. I groom them every day to avoid skin issues, but it is not a chore. The routine is soothing for them and for me (although I imagine them thinking “I’ll just put more mud on tomorrow!”) Before I left the barn, I opened a bag of carrots. Because I regularly share with the other horses boarded there, they all knew the sound and began their soft nickering – another sweet pleasure for me — low, throat sounds coming from all around as friendly reminders. What a satisfying part of my day – and theirs too I hope.
As Bob suggests, another way to create a peace of sorts is to step away from the phone, but that backfired recently. I have some time off from a very demanding teaching semester now, so I wanted a little restorative ‘me time’. Unfortunately, when I did not respond quickly to text messages and land-line calls, my friends became alarmed. Within just a couple of days, I found one of them at my front door early in the morning just to be sure I was alive and another worried friend said if I hadn’t answered the door, they were going to call the police for a well-check visit. Is this the proverbial double-edged sword? I totally appreciate the protective intentions of my friends, who were unaware of my temporary (necessary?) desire to disconnect. But, lesson learned – I don’t live in a vacuum (yaaay!). Easy fix –next time, I’ll let my friends know ahead of time so they won’t worry.
Good friends, horses, full moons – for me, there is great peace and pleasure to be found.
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What a beautiful and peaceful comment! Thanks, Robin. Merry Christmas!