Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Quiet Contemplation (From 2007)

Is there a spot in your world suitable for quiet contemplation?

I find it’s become a rare thing. You don’t have to be away from the whole world to achieve it. Just the opposite. Being all alone out in the wilderness is not restful. Even a tiny urban dooryard used to have the potential to serve the purpose I’m referring to, or the small parks that would dot the urban landscape. But exterior spaces are mostly too busy or barren, and so suburb or city or exurb, they don’t serve the purpose anymore.

There are fads. Decks, hot tubs, elaborate grilling devices, pools, tennis courts, swingsets, treeforts, bocce, horseshoes… I could keep going, but you get the picture. There’s a great deal of hardscaping in the exterior world these days. I am mostly ambivalent about most of those things. They are either useful or not according to taste. But they are not what I am talking about.

I’m talking about a place that is designed to place a person at ease outdoors, sheltered enough from hubbub to stop for a moment and contemplate the outdoors and your place in it.

I am not often on the lookout for things to do. I have too many things to do. I am looking for a place to do not much of anything for a pleasant moment.

Put a garden in your yard. Put a seat in your garden. Enclose it enough to be private. Give it a view through to something else that is pleasant to look at from a distance. Open it to the sky but dapple the sunlight. Get out of the wind, invite a breeze. Stay on the ground if you can, but get out of the dirt.

Keep the fun out of there. It’s too much like work.

3 Responses

  1. I grew up on 12,000 acres in the middle of nothing. Today I live in a place with 70k people. Right now, my life is full of the sounds of other people's lives.

    My soul aches for the sound of nothing. Blissful, empty, quiet, peaceful nothing.

    I could use some quiet contemplation. But where?

  2. Meadowlark, come sit in my backyard. One hour, more if you like. Or need. Just look at the bushes and birds, the clouds, the sun. If you come broken we'll see that ya mend.
    Ah, jeez. I have to go to work.

  3. My screened porch. Here on the farm, long miles from any city. A hummingbird visiting the feeder a few feet away from my chair, leaves rustling on an ancient sugar maple, cows chomping deep grass in the pasture, lawn that needs mowing dropping away to a fringe of overgrown sumacs and blackberries, the music of the creek across the road and beyond that the sweeping rise of woods and meadows on a hillside. So peaceful that after we finish dinner out there and it ought to be time to go back indoors and back to our busy lives, we fall silent instead, rock gently in our chairs, sit still.

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