In “The Art of Stillness” the author Pico Iyer says:
“In an age of constant movement nothing is more urgent than sitting still”.
Pico Iyer at a Ted Talk
My parents didn’t see it that way. They indoctrinated me with the idea that idleness was to be avoided at all costs, even feared.
To my parents, even reading was a kind of idleness. There was nothing tangible to show for it. So when, as a child, I was alone in my room and became absorbed in a book, my mother would erupt into the room saying, “How can you read in all this mess?”
In those days, there was no talking back. I cleaned up the room and went back to the book. And as I read Pico Iyer’s words I reflected back on the past and found that it still affects me.
To this day I have this feeling that if I am not doing something useful like cleaning or dusting or cooking, I have failed somehow. My upbringing tells me appearances have the upper hand and rambling thoughts should somehow be tamed. Absorbing your surroundings with all your senses is not a valued endeavor.
However, I have learned to overcome these ancient attitudes, and have finally achieved the triumph of idleness
When I go outside and sit in a sunny spot in my very quiet totally private backyard I just look around and admire the colorful flowers, enjoy the sun warming my back, and observe a black and white cat vigorously washing his face. I do usually have a book, but it often sits in my lap and whatever I’m doing, I no longer hear “get to work” in the back of my mind.
I hear the birds and enjoy the peace.
Editor’s note: Simone turns 99 on January 14th….for a lasting gift, comment on this post (or any other one…there are hundreds)