I’m waiting for a 2:30 dentist appointment to reattach the cap on my left top wisdom tooth—the one that came out on the very day that it’s companion, the right top one, was pulled. What a bother this all is because I want to beat the traffic to the cottage. More to the point, I want to be at the cottage. But here I sit, with another opportunity to practice patience. Of course I’m mighty aware that impatience has no place in an atmosphere of silence, solitude and simplicity. The life-long challenge is to experience the 3Ss no matter what the circumstance--all the while knowing that ‘fight or flight’ will take over if need be. Surely, waiting for a dentist appointment is not in that category, so patiently I wait.
Rainy, dreary day here. I made myself drive over to BJ’s for a few supplies that I purchase in bulk; soy milk, pasta, soft scrub, grated ptarmigan cheese. I guess I saved a little, but every time I shop there I have to remind myself that my best way to save is by staying out of stores like that. I can’t believe that I almost bought a package of fifteen non-scratch sponges. I don’t even use sponges.
Why am I writing about my boring shopping event on this dreary day? It really has to do with this waiting time before Mom’s memorial service on Saturday. When someone lives to be 101 years old, there isn’t a big need immediately to have the memorial service. Mom’s slow fading away, plus her age, helped us prepare for her parting, and so waiting for two and half weeks seems just fine and logistically sensible—and it is.
And yet the waiting…. All the arrangements have been made—the service itself, hotel reservations, family gatherings, even what to wear. It’s a restless time, so what better day to stock up on soy milk. I doubt that I’ll want to do it a week from now, and anyway, maybe then it will be a cheerful late autumn day.
I didn’t want Tolstoy and the Purple Chair to end but I kept on reading. And now I’m into another book, a simple, humorous mystery, Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell, by M.C. Beaton, set in the Cotswalds. Next, sitting on my table is Mary C. Morrison’s Let Evening Come: Reflections on Aging given to me by my long time friend from preschool.
Nina Sankovitch has me hooked on reading, but I’ve always had a book in my bag, so what’s the difference? As a start, I usually have three books going and consequently read a couple of pages of this, a chapter of that, and end up deciding I don’t need to finish any of them, particularly the non-fiction— I’ve got the gist, and that’s good enough.
Those of you who know me, are probably aware that I am pretty active. If ADHD were around when I was growing up, I would have been tagged. My Uncle Don would offer me twenty-five cents if I could sit on his lap for fifteen minutes and I never earned the coin. So, I’m in awe of anyone who can sit all afternoon, and evening for that matter, reading a book, which is what Sankovitch did during her book-a-day year. She read fiction and non fiction, one at a time, and that’s what I’m working on now, the one at a time part. And oh, not a book a day, but maybe one every three days.
Sankovitch accomplished this with no built in solitude. The givens in her household were four school aged boys and a husband. If I weren’t so hyper, I should be able to read two books a day, but first I need to learn to be lethargic. I’ll let you know how I do.
On my walk today.
9:45 AM. How does restlessness relates to solitude? I have the day ahead of me, free to do whatever I so desire, all solitude. But here I am, restless, my mind and body all over the place. Should I take a walk? Go to Starbucks? Read a book? Write the blog? Visit a friend? Put in a load of laundry? On it goes; up and down I bob (yes, bob for Bobbi). Decision made. I’m hungry for fried eggs and an English muffin, so I’m heading down to the kitchen right now.
12 Noon. I satisfied my appetite, which is always most ravenous in the morning a hour after I’ve eaten my oatmeal. And now I just finished what I call a meditation nap; I nod off for a bit and when I come back to consciousness, my mind is settled with gentle thoughts. Today I drifted off to my cottage by the sea for calm and comfort. At home I am full of “shoulds”, which mainly feel like obligations, such as, “Should I visit a friend who doesn’t get out much?” I just can’t get into that “on vacation” mood that I embrace at the cottage. Um, nothing new there! Next decision: read.
2:30 PM. I read (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy) for an hour, did some laundry, and prepared a salad for supper tonight. I’m feeling less restless and am very glad that I didn’t succumb to Starbucks. The Desert Fathers tell us, “Stay in your cell, for your cell will tell you everything you need to know.” Well I don’t know everything, but I do know that paying attention to restlessness helps me get through it. The Dessert Fathers also wandered about the dessert, so right now I’m going to wander around the neighborhood. I’d prefer a walk on the beach, but I’m not at the cottage.
4:00 PM. The walk revived me. Nothing like a pilgrimage around the block to still the restlessness while at the same time, keeping me in solitude. One insight to ponder: I love when I don’t have any obligations. I know, I know, that’s not practical or sensible, but I bet there’s something in admitting that most of us have too many obligations.
Tomorrow is a day filled with good obligations.
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