Maybe That’s OK

Rain in the night, and still more as day broke. A relief, really; it’s amazing how quickly the ground turned to thirst, cars tailing plumes of dust along the mountain road, the creek low and quiet. Sometimes in the early mornings I ride my bicycle to the top of the mountain and back. I like how the trees – maples, mostly – knit their leafed branches together over the road, forming a tunnel as the climb begins in earnest. I pedal into the tunnel just as the sun is rising, and suddenly everything is dim again, and there I am in the near-dark with my heart in my ears, the birds in morning song, the dry dirt crackling beneath the tires of my old bike.

I realize just now how often I write of early day, and I’m pretty sure why: I think there is something about the break of day that brings one closer to the inner workings of heart and mind, even if only to realize that the inner workings of heart and mind are as cluttered and fumbling as ever. Which I suppose is itself a certain clarity for the truth it speaks.

It is my habit to sit in silence for few minutes upon awakening, in the winter before the wood stove, in the summer perhaps the same, or outside atop one of the large stones that protrudes from the ground at the height of the knoll above our house. I don’t entirely understand the value of this habit; I tried for a while to understand, but have finally (and wisely, I think) given up on the expectation of it even having value. But I continue to do it anyway, mostly even when I don’t much want to, and I sense it is doing something for me, even if I don’t know what “it” is.

Then it occurs to me that maybe it’s nothing. And maybe that’s ok.




16 thoughts on “Maybe That’s OK”

  1. I am old enough to be your mother & live on a farm in GA. Your writings nearly always speak to me, & I enjoy them. I try to have an early AM few minutes of “quiet time” – being aware of Nature, Sunrise, animals, & just get my inner being aligned for the day ahead!! Keep writing! Mary Ann

  2. (Does this go on the blog? I was thinking to keep it out of the general discussion, but anyway…)

    Have you ever had a sitting meditation practice? Might be worth trying. It certainly can have “value”, though as you say it’s hard to know what that value is–it can’t be measured by ordinary standards. In fact itwas your “don’t know” approach that made me think youmight be a good candidate.In any case, you’re right to give up on expectations. The whole business is one big paradox: having a purpose defeats the purpose.

    Anyway, top o’ the morning to ya…. Barn

    1. Hi Barn,

      Yup, it’s on the blog… and good to hear from you. I don’t know if you’d call my habit “meditation.” But then, I don’t really know what meditation is.

      1. To most people meditation is manipulation. You’re probably best off to not really know. But then, if you really know anything (except the one thing) you’re in trouble.

  3. Quiet reflection, pause, peaceful calm and simply being ok with stillness or silence are chronically underrated. I crave these moments throughout my days and nights to collect myself, to breathe. I just feel I need it, and so I do it. Value and expectation would maybe quantify and ruin what is otherwise a very personal, perhaps spiritual thing. It took me a surprisingly long time to hear the inner desire for all of that, to know the absence of many things was what I needed, not more stuff (or stimuli). Thank you for another thought-provoking post.

  4. Wherever you go, there you are…as Jon Kabat-Zinn would say…like your
    writing..my better half, Louella Bryant, is a writer and friends with your
    Dad…like him a lot…

  5. Imagine if every adult in America sat on a rock (even a bucket) each morning and listened, or prayed, or hummed, or looked at their ankles. 5 minutes say. And to splurge a bit, imagine if every adult also attended a garden of carrots, or spinach, or turnips each morning (even bucket-sized). 5 minutes say. What would come of 300 million folks sitting and gardening every day? 10 minutes. Everyday 10 minutes focusing on soul and earth…

  6. It is called getting old, Ben, when we sit on a rock watching sunrise instead of sleeping in. 🙂 But if seriously, good to hear your words again. I was thinking about you guys, and Vermont, and maples, chanterelles, and blueberries. And maple creemees. 🙂
    In Lithuania, we have a tradition to sit down in a quiet contemplation for a few minutes before taking any trip. I suppose every day is a new voyage, and sitting down in silence to greet it is just as well.

  7. Walking my dog was that window of peace, taking the world as day broke. I miss him. And it’s not as rich for me to just sit inside – I try – and don’t find that sweet resonance. I’ll have to go find a rock.

  8. Don’t ever stop writing Ben. You always have some insightful words to share….love the moments of quite solitude surrounded by Nature.

    Alexa-asimplelife from Sydney, Australia

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