Some days are so busy it would be nice to just have a few minutes to sit and collect a thought or two. How strange it is that we have built a society where the chance to take a breath and reflect is almost an impossibility. Even in our recreation we tend to be hurrying to get there, hurrying up to do things so we can get back to take up the yoke of our busy lives. I have the feeling we are so isolated from leisure that we are often unable to really let go and relax. We are so used to being busy that it feels uncomfortable to just sit there and do nothing.
Sometimes even when we are enjoying the outdoors we discover we have taken the city with us. I recall a time when I was sitting in a clam shack at the ocean’s edge waiting for my order when two well-dressed women came in and set at one of the rustic picnic tables. They waited about three minutes before getting up and leaving, upbraiding the poor waitress for “lack of service”. I will never forget the sound of their high heels clicking angrily along the wooden planks as they stormed out the door., all the while wondering to myself who in the world wears heel to the ocean anyway?
In the nothingness that is enjoying the outdoors there is actually a lot to perceive. Once you let go and let the larger world begin to engage your senses there is an entire world of sounds and sensation, the quiet lap of water against a wooden dock, the caress of a breeze, the smell of water, the color of newly sprouted wild plants waking up from their long winter nap. It is a passive enjoyment that brings a relaxation through the entire body that no $200 massage could begin to equal.
On this particular almost summer day I have driven to Kettle Pond in the Grafton State Forrest of Vermont. Parking at the trailhead it is a short hike of about a quarter of a mile into the boat launch where I manage to keep still for almost half an hour. The hike around the pond is about three miles and pretty level, but I leave that for another day as there is still quite a bit of mud along the trail. So my day consists of sitting and enjoying the lake, letting my thoughts drift like the clouds overhead, getting up when I have had enough and heading home not feeling at all like I have wasted my time.