I’m a huge fan of summer reading, the highlight of which is invariably the latest Daniel Silva spy novel. This year (apparently because I’m a glutton for punishment), I have challenged myself to alternate between trashy spy novels and works that are a little more highbrow. The highbrow work-de-jour is Thoreau’s Walden.
I’ll spare you most of my soapbox rant – there are parts I disagree with, some I don’t like (but begrudgingly agree with), and a lot that I’m struggling to understand. There is one passage, however, that has stuck out more than others. I apologize for the cliche as it is an oft quoted passage, but here goes:
“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. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance… For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.”
I often struggle with the idea of letting the day unfold. Case in point, I just got back from a relaxing lake vacation and kept catching myself planning and researching a trip that was supposed to be about relaxation and doing nothing. I’m sure I’m not alone in this struggle and am working to see unaccomplished time as being “above my usual allowance.”
And now for something completely different…
Q: What’s the difference between a piano and a fish?
A: You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish!
Thomas Cooper, PsyD