“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours
a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the
woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly
engagements.” ~Henry David Thoreau
“…absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” Is that possible!? Even for a few hours? Each day??
I was careful not to plan the last few days’ evenings full of activities and the calendar-o-events actually cooperated with that. Pig-farmer left on Sunday afternoon for three nights for his job. After a long walk with my sister and stocking up on groceries, I didn’t want a whole lot else on the calendar. I decided I needed to get a “feel” for days to come… You see, this is my youngest son’s last year of high school … and pig-farmer works a job requiring travel. Hmmm… strange things are happening.
It, the lack of activities, nagged at me. Somehow, working my job, completing animal chores, making supper for my son and me, doing dishes and laundry just didn’t seem like I was being busy and productive enough. Should I start a project?? No. I needed to take a deep breath. It would be okay to slow down.
I found that I am tired. Not the good-tired that comes from a day of physical labor, either. It’s the tired that comes from constantly being on the go. Over-scheduled. Mentally fatigued. Constantly juggling schedules and commitments in my mind to get it all worked in.
My son is like that, too. He talked last night about being tired of always having “something” to do. Homework, part-time job, extracurriculars, etc. He likes time to just “be.” Is it because I was able, for the most part, to be home with the boys when they were young and we were not (always) slaves to a rigid routine? It made me sad that he is feeling this way; but I admit that my first reaction to him was, “That’s just life.” I shouldn’t have been so flippant. We talked about what will be changing in the upcoming weeks. I think his schedule will ease a little. Can we slip back to a slower time?
Our society encourages “busy.” Ask someone how they are. If they reply, “Busy,” we shake our heads in understanding. If they were to answer with something like, “Taking time to smell the roses,” we might be inclined to ask them what is wrong.
I have a dream of building a small, rustic cabin in my mom’s timber along the Kaskaskia River for quiet retreats and not-so-quiet retreats with the kids. It will have comfy couches and chairs in an open floor plan with a simple kitchen being the entertainment hub. Books and magazines will abound. Technology will not. Maybe it will preserve health and spirit for all who enter!
Of course, I should not wait on that to happen; but a few nights with ‘not much’ on the old calendar was really nice. Tonight? Pig-farmer is home, making noise and a mess, not appreciating my
humor sarcasm, and I’m home to enjoy it. I’m blessed. 🙂
Thoreau was onto something…even if we can’t carve out the full four hours, I think disconnecting from the constant flow of technology can be helpful. Lovely, positive post!
Four hours can seem impossible … disconnecting (from technology) will probably lead to connecting with the important things! Thank you for reading and commenting.
I totally agree. I hate to be always on the go. When my kids were little, I decided I didn’t want to be the mom that spent her entire day in the car, driving kids around. I actually felt a little guilty about it. I’ve tried to be selective about how many activities each of us in the family are involved in so we have time to enjoy being a family. It’s always a balancing act.
That’s why I love the name of your blog! A perfect reminder.