Monday, August 07, 2006

"Let's just watch this day pass by."

This was my father the other day, summing up the mood for us as we began our first day in Maine. A lazy breakfast, lazy stroll through the harbor town of Camden, and a lazy evening at my brother's place, tucked away behind oak and pine woods in the little town of Washington. Cooking up steaks, watching Ella run around, and catching glimpses of goldfinches as they dipped and dodged through the tree branches beside the house.

But being lazy is hard work. Letting go of plans, not checking e-mail, not posting religiously to a blog (hmm), not looking at your cell phone every 15 minutes, is hard! Try it sometime!

"Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of "doing for the sake of doing". We must resist this temptation by trying "to be" before trying "to do"." - Novo Millennio Ineunte, JPII

Pope John Paul II was and is the MAN. He recognized our restless itching to keep busy and tried to hush us, like a father rocking an anxious child to sleep. He spoke again and again of the One Thing necessary for wholeness in this world (it wasn't a cell phone, by the way). It was the art of listening, the gift of doing nothing, the capacity in all of us to, in the words from Paul Simon's new song "sit down, shut up, and think about God."

We're driving north through the woods of Maine as I write this (I know, a living paradox, but it's for you!) and the things that keep one busy are slipping past like the birch trees and boulders along this highway. No billboards, buildings, high-tension wires, malls or the madness of traffic. Just woods, rivers, mountains... I don't expect to have a signal once we hit Rockwood, but who knows.

There's a line from an Indigo Girls song that speaks of "days so still the beauty gives you pain." I'm hoping for that pain as we enter the great Moosehead Lake region for an overnight. To hear the "still, sad music of humanity" for a time, and to grow in appreciation of it. But the stillness is'nt just here in Maine. It's as close as the off switch on a cell phone, radio or television set. And mine is right.... here...

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