Lost Time

Park bench in snow I am sitting in the public library, looking out the window at the steadily increasing snow-fall. I have been trying to decide on a subject to write about. Now, in this quiet space, I just want to look out—at the park across the street where empty benches collect snow. Where dark tree branches wave with the wind and stretch to the gray sky. Each empty car parked in front of the library signals a person or two inside, here with me—but not really with me—sitting quietly by themselves, reading, dosing, or browsing in the rows of books.

This seems like the opposite of “real” life—the life of work, of shopping at the busy market, driving, watching noisy action on television. But…maybe being quiet and “doing” very little is real life.

Two hundred years ago there was no television, no radio, no Wal-Mart. There were no computers and no cars. I wonder…what was the noise level? How much did people rush? Wasn’t much of the day spent in work that created little noise—planting, harvesting, cooking, travel on foot or on horseback?

Then, the sunset was the evening news. Table conversation was the television crime drama. A hardcover book was the laptop computer. And there was nothing to even compare to a cell phone. Yes, more time was spent working, but after, and even during the work, there was time to watch, time to think.

In recent decades, humans in the “developed” world have grown rich in information, entertainment, and objects meant to save our time. Ironically, these developments seem not to have left us with more time, but less.  The evolution of technology seems to have sped past our ability to maintain spiritual perspective.

I wonder…. Can we recapture time for quiet watching? For conversing without urgency. For sitting with no occupation but our own thoughts?

For me, this quiet space in the library is a good start. Where might you start?

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