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.