Minnesota Farmer


The art of doing nothing
November 30, 2011, 11:24 am
Filed under: family, Farm, Fishing, weather, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I learned the art of doing nothing before I reached my teens.  Long hours in the boat or ice house fishing with my grandfather taught me how to sit for hours lost in thought.  To be content when nothing was happening, and not have to be always doing.  Besides, fishing with Grandpa was preferable to the jobs my Mom would find for me.

The art of doing nothing was honed by long periods of walking in the fields or woods near our farm.  Just being in the outdoors, listening and watching, and doing very little else.  A dog as a companion or a bicycle, and later a motorcycle, to take me further afield, helped me continue my solo perambulations.  A chance to wander a real wilderness, or better yet canoe one, is the greatest of places to do nothing.

The art of doing nothing was perfected by long hours in the tractor seat.  Yes, you need to be aware of the job at hand, you need to see and understand everything that is happening in the job you are doing, but the job is essentially very boring.  I mean, you are just sitting there watching the world go by.  Your mind can be millions of miles away while still at work in the field.

All of this prepared me for shopping with my wife.  I’m not a “shopper,” I’m a buyer.  I know what I want, and I go and buy it.  To spend long hours searching between stores for a bargain? not going to happen!  So I have learned to sit patiently and do nothing.  Yes, I see the people who hustle by, the other men waiting for their wives, the children wide eyed in the commercial mecca of our malls, but I essentially do nothing.  If possible I prefer to do nothing out doors where I can watch the weather and wild life.

There are times I feel we all need to slow down and watch what is going around about us.  Our bodies need slow time, we need to observe, to know, to be.  We all need time to “Be still, and know the small voice of God.”

Michael

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