A good day is a quiet day. The savor of life, for me, is the quiet and enlivening action of being. In our society, we have all but forgotten how to simply be. We have an agenda for the whole day, meals mapped out, road routes planned ahead of time, work schedules set practically in stone, social lives that keep us away from home, all in an attempt to be full, to live life to its fullest, to be efficient, to be productive, to be visibly successful – That is the mark of our society – Meshing cogs, perfectly timed machinery, society run like efficient computers, filling our minds and our lives so full that what we’ve retained is irretrievable, lost in the stimulus.
But what about a full life that is full in its quietness? What about a life that is brimming with possibility, instead of a scheduled, itemized list? What in the meshing cogs of our society really leaves room for creativity, spontaneity, and breathing deep of life? What about forsaking some of the world’s marks of success to pursue a kind of success that is soul-deep, built on relationships with God and people? My heart hungered for a slower life, even when I didn’t realize it, but out here where there are miles upon miles of hills and trees and craggy peaks and rugged ravines, I find it easier, so much easier to simply be.
I want to live a life that is full of purpose and hard work, that is productive and industrious and useful, but I want that productivity and industriousness and usefulness to be plaited together with quietness, solitude, and relationships, and detached from the matrix of society. A four-day-per-week work schedule is ideal! I am so thankful.
On my days off, I feel as if I flee into God’s creation, hungering to see nothing of what people have made, and simply to revel in the wonders of the natural world. For a couple of months, I’ve tried to make it down to Hole-in-the-Wall, one of my family’s favorite haunts. Finally! Sarah and I had an hour and a half or so yesterday and we made a quick jaunt down our old jeep trail to that wonderful place.
The hardwood trees have all lost their leaves by now, or mostly, and the air was crisp and ripe with autumn. We hiked along the creek bed for most of the way, scrambling over rocks, jumping from one to the other, getting tangled in young trees which are growing bravely up through the rocky creek bottom. Battle Creek was flowing high this summer. Sarah is a tall girl, and the clumps of tangled grass and leaves above her head show the waterline to have been at least 7 feet deep in this bend of the canyon!
Hole-in-the-Wall is whittled away a little more each year, but there it has been for about 100 years. I wonder how much longer it will be there, and big enough for us to climb through and hike over? I hope I never have to see it collapsed, the whole ridge crumbled to a pile of rock, but one never knows – A little more of it tumbles down with every rain. It still enchants me.
The canyon leading to Hole-in-the-Wall was glowing brightly – Blue sky, a little breeze, and warm sunlight. What more could we ask for? I guess the one thing we could have asked for was a little more time. Salsa preparations and housework in the early afternoon and small group in the evening didn’t leave a lot of time, but we still had the leisure to enjoy our scramble to and from, to stop and marvel at fallen leaves, garnet sand, and orange berries. We had time to be.
It was a good day. A quiet sort of day.