Thursday, August 14, 2008

Strange Changes

We don’t have a TV here in the country. Our old set is at the apartment in Columbus and it still works for channels 4, 6 and 10, but it is a dinosaur in the land of electronics and I’m not going to move it here. I think we will get a new TV when the new house is ready, but I’m not sure of that. I don’t want to miss anything because I’m watching TV.

I don’t want to miss the deer that come to the orchard in the morning mist.
I don’t want to miss the milk snake crossing the driveway.

I don’t want to miss the colors of the sunset reflecting on the clouds across the meadow.
I don’t want to miss seeing the crazy collection of moths dressed in their Erte cloaks resting against the back of the new house.

My life here is definitely different. My habits are different. When I go to the apartment in the city, the TV sits on a table in the smallish living room and I automatically desire to turn it on. Like an alcoholic seeing a bottle of gin, I guess. I want to zone out, numb over, forget. Out here, since I don’t have a TV, I end up sitting quietly on the porch, looking at the meadow and noticing the thoughts flickering across my mind and the general feeling in my heart and my body. It amazes me how much time I have spent avoiding this kind of introspection. Even though I crave it, if given the opportunity to avoid it, I will—through a variety of means that the city offers in truckloads: shopping, eating, drinking, watching TV, working out. None of those things is bad in and of itself, but I have used them all to avoid quietly sitting.

One of the reasons I wanted to move to the country was to cultivate this art of quietly sitting, and it is one of the things that is changing me the most. When John is in town at the office and I’m here all alone, the quietude really spreads its fingers wide. A deep well appears and so far, I’ve just peeked over the edge at the dark waters below. It is both restful and energizing in a way that I don’t have much experience feeling. And because of that lack of experience, it can be a little scary. It is intriguing enough, though, to keep me tuning in.

Before anyone gets too aggravated with my rhapsody, I want you to know that I understand what a bit of grace it is to be able to do this. I don’t have kids to haul around and cook for, and no full-time job sapping my last bit of creative energy. And for that I am grateful to the marrow (the job part especially--I love my kids :) I just wanted you to know that I’m not wasting my dose of grace on TV. Maybe when winter comes and the dark settles early and the new season of House begins, I will change my tune. For now, I’m allowing the exterior change in my life to affect the interior, too. And I am here to report that the process is surprising and amazing. I have the feeling that it would take me as far as I wanted to go. That somehow, it wants me. It wants all of us and is waiting patiently for us to pay attention so that it can reveal wonder after wonder.


mary said...

Great posting. I was talking to a friend the other day who was telling me about how she loves to watch all of the new reality shows, etc. and I was so proud to say that I rarely watch tv any more. However, what I realized is that I am on the computer instead which may be just as bad. It is not so bad when it comes to the fact that when I am on the computer, I am typically getting work done so that I can be with my kids for a longer time in the morning or I am reading the latest news about the election (Go Obama) instead of watching nannies tell disengaged families how to discipline their kids or watching how to become a top model. But just as bad in that I am not resting and taking life in. Unfortunately, it is very hard to do this when you sit down to rest and your mind cannot get off the focus of what needs to be done for the kids tomorrow or what project I need to complete at work by the end of the week. But I know, too, that kids and work will be here for quite some time (these darn kids are only 1 and 3!) and I need to challenge myself to sit down in a quiet place at 9:30 at night and contemplate my day, stare at the sliver of pie lighting up the late summer sky, and breathe, breathe, breathe... Thanks for the reminder!

Family Smudge said...

Just found your blog and I will definitely be keeping up with it! You're right, whenever there is a TV in town I have this overwhelming urge to veg out in front of it. For why I don't really know!? We haven't had a TV in six months and I feel that my life has been so much more enriched for not having that constant distraction. I read more, I think more, I notice more and I feel as though I live more. I will look forward to popping back to your blog - please feel free to visit ours! Your pictures are great too :-)

Meg said...

Ah, so true, Mary, about the computer. It was a bit ironic that while I was typing furiously into my computer last night, some deer were in the front pasture...whoops, I missed them ;)

Balance. That's a good mantra.

Meg said...

Sarah, check out the "Family Smudge" blog. Kindred spirits, I think!