Thursday, June 3, 2010


Last night, a violent storm that cut off power for two hours ended up being a welcome bit of contemplative quiet, at least for me.

I enjoyed the silence, the cool air from the open windows, the candles we had lit. I was given permission to do nothing.

It is wonderful to do nothing and just be. To savor fully the present moment, which is something I write about but don't do a lot of. Like most people, I'm too busy to live--if we mean what Pascal meant when he said that most people are so preoccupied with the past or worrying about the future that they have no time for the present, and so, "we never actually live but only hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so."(Pensees, 17th cent.)

I didn't think of Pascal last night, but I did think of Thomas Merton's famous comment on rain, as it bucketed down on our Winter Park home; it comes from his book Raids on the Unspeakable. He compares the rain to speech "pouring down, selling nothing,judging nothing...soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water. What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone in the forest at night [listening to] the talk the rain makes..."

But mainly, like Merton, I just listened as countless ancestors of mine, most of them unaware of electric power, listened to the sound of the rain. I was glad for the gift rain, even a storm, gives us of cutting us off from ordinary time and its constraints and allowing us to savor the timeless present.

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