The Lapse of Time

A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener.
So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts.
We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and
took advantage of every accident that befell us.

Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.
~Henry David Thoreau from “Simplicity” in Walden.

I’m completely unskilled at doing nothing and have no idea how to go about it.

There is no continuing education course or training in it. I can’t get credit hours for accumulating guilt about wasting time — I get antsy at the mere thought of inactivity. Simply watching the hours pass makes me itchy for productivity.

So I’m practicing at nothing whatsoever this summer, just to see if I’m really cut out for it. I’ve read up on “how to rest”: connecting to nature, taking a break from being responsible, choosing not to be helpful and just remaining still and to be content to watch what is around me. Except for the nature part, I’m an utter failure otherwise.

It starts to feel like work to not work.

Even Thoreau ended up writing down and then publishing his meandering thoughts. Sounds like work to me.

Time for a nap.

5 thoughts on “The Lapse of Time

  1. Wonderful, love your transparency too. When you have those moments when you realize, were I gone and at work, I would’ve missed this, I bet it comes easier. I hope so. I feel blessed for all the quiet moments, to think, to observe. Thanks, as always!♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wondered about that. All my friends who are retired wax rhapsodic about all the time they have. My question always: time to do what? I am told one needs to have a plan before retiring. Ah, there is the work you speak of….. Good luck with this, Emily.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is training to do nothing. Keating’s contemplative prayer, the practice of Vipassana meditation, centering prayer, the recitation of the Jesus prayer as the ancient desert Fathers demonstrated are all ways of simply sitting and becoming aware of the present moments. Test when I view your photographs and read the thoughts you write, I see a very aware and centered person. Editing your photos, quotes and writing your thoughts are your practices. You do them well every day. Our eyes are opened as we gaze upon the glimpses of farm life. We are able to see the presence of God in you.

    Like

  4. There is training to do nothing. Keating’s contemplative prayer, the practice of Vipassana meditation, centering prayer, the recitation of the Jesus prayer as the ancient desert Fathers demonstrated are all ways of simply sitting and becoming aware of the present moments. Test when I view your photographs and read the thoughts you write, I see a very aware and centered person. Editing your photos, quotes and writing your thoughts are your practices. You do them well every day. Our eyes are opened as we gaze upon the glimpses of farm life. We are able to see the presence of God in you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh how I can relate to this. For different reasons maybe. But finding a way to let go of what I cant do for whatever reason. Its been a learning curve for sure. Finding pleasure and beauty in just being has been an enlightning journey.

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