We spend the weekend at a cottage-by-the-lake, not a cottage-by-the-sea. I’m drawn more to the ocean than to inland water, but I must be very grateful to have opportunities to enjoy silence, solitude, and simplicity at both. Here’s a second-hand opportunity to sit by Lake Dunmore in Vermont.
The other day I received an email from a women who had randomly come across my blog. She asked if there was a way to follow it through a link that would let her know when I had posted. My short answer was no.
But that got me thinking about the nuances involved in keeping up a blog. I started this blog in 2009 during one of my first days at the cottage by the sea. This fall will be the blog’s tenth anniversary. I’ve been quite consistent in posting, and feel it is still vibrant, well, as vibrant as I want it to be.
I used to offer a daily quote, but that feature now appears every other day. I post every few days, sometimes less often, and usually every day when I’m traveling. I’ve added “Compassionate Reading,” “Secrets of an Old Woman,” and “A Solitary Traveler.”
The blog is what I want it to be; I feel very little pressure to post. Rather, I post because I have something to say, and I trust that my thoughts support others. I say trust, because I don’t often hear from my readers, as I did Susan. I deeply appreciated the affirmation, but what keeps me going is deeply knowing that my readers and I are benefitting from the silence, solitude, and simplicity that we are experiencing together. I don’t know who most of you are, but I am given the statistic that last week I had 1,798 ‘unique visitors’—whatever than precisely means!!
Yesterday I made a list of things I needed to buy the next time I go to the mall: rubber spatula, potholders, and plastic/vinyl placemats. Then I recalled a recent headline in the Boston Globe—something about all the stuff we hoard. “I don’t hoard,” I tell myself!
Back to my list.
• Spatula: I don’t need a new one. The one I have is more than adequate, even with its few nicks.
• Potholders: I do need new ones. The ones I am currently using have holes and my figures are getting burned.
• Placemats: I don’t need new ones. I have a chest full, in fact, enough to last for our life time, in fact I hoard them. I may not be able to wipe them clean, but I can throw them in the washing machine
Here’s my current, personal definition of hoarding: having more than I need, not using what I have, and buying more to stash away, to hoard.
My usual way of getting rid of stuff is by giving or throwing it away. I have my usual places: trash can, ‘put-and-take’, church fair, Salvation Army, gifting, and now a new one—using it myself, use it up. I love this new simplicity.
Cataract surgery on my right eye went well. I can definitely notice the brightness, and clarity of vision is coming back. Follow up with the doctor affirmed all of this. So there it is, my brief medical report, which I realize is barely medical and hardly a report.
Instead I offer you a report on the silence, solitude and simplicity that I experience, for, after all, that is what this blog is about.
The surgical facility, which is affiliated with Mass Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School, is located west of Boston, about twenty five minutes from my home. The patients rooms and medical equipment are clean, spacious, and light. Except for the twenty minutes in surgery, I lay on what felt like comfortable shays lounge while kind and comforting aides, nurses and doctors tended to my needs.
There was plenty of time to relax, to meditate, and to BE, and the atmosphere was conducive to just that. What came over me, as the chatter in my head dissipated and judgments disappeared, was a sense of peace. Why all the fuss in the world? Let’s just love everyone. I knew those were simplistic thoughts and that Id be having to make decisions and workout situations as soon as I walked out to the car, but for that moment those thoughts were pure, honest, and hopeful, and I believed I had the opportunity to be more loving and less fearful out the world.
That aura of peace is still with me That is what I think silence, solitude and simplicity is all about.
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