I recently spent four days in Heaven doing Nothing. Nothing but sitting and staring at … well, Heaven.
This is the view from my friend Donna’s new house in Manson, on Lake Chelan. She invited me for a getaway just when I needed to sit and do that which we call nothing. However: I did take my laptop and some books, with an eye on creating a l’il writing and reading retreat for myself.
Because . . . Nothing . . . what kind of lame-ass does nothing?
In my mom’s parlance, you don’t want to be a lazy-ass “good-for-nothing!”
We did it together, Donna and me. That which we call Nothing. We stared and stared and stared at those softly undulating sunburnt hills, at the bright blue lake, at the rows of vineyards striping one side of the hills, the passing ducks quacking away, back to the sunburnt hills.
We sat and tried to read but most of the time we were peering over our books and going “oooh” “aaah” and “Ohmygoditssostinkinbeautiful!”
We took a lot of short swims. We saw a lot of big fish—lake trout maybe? Then we returned to sitting and staring and staring at the lake, the hills with their wheaty flesh and wrinkles, the punctuation of trees, the odd house on a crease top here and there.
We watched the surrounding hills grow pink, darken, and then sparkle like jewel boxes.
We went to bed, got up and did it all over again.
We did it until “nothing” didn’t feel like nothing. It felt like SOMETHING.
“I think the hills are happy we’re looking at them,” I said to Donna.
“I agree,” she said nodding along.
The way we sat and watched and watched this surrounding beauty felt purposeful. Not just in the way it filled us up with a soulful of lusciousness, like we were getting a deep feeding, but in the way that it felt like we were doing our bodies and the world some serious good. Like there was no NOTHING anymore. Instead, sitting in this static state and staring was a constructive act. The Chelan hills and vineyards and duck family and the owl I walked up to on the dock in twilight, the creases in the hills that we admired and pointed to—they LOVED having our attention on them. If the hills were cats you would have heard them purring away.
We were on a date with the planet--an intimate date at the intersection of Lake Chelan and Manson.
P.S. We also spent a few hours staring at the sun (w/glasses!), watching the eclipse. So that puts our active appreciative-staring really over the edge.
Try it. Go on a date with the planet.
One day this week, either right now, after dinner, at lunch, during a coffee break, when you need to stretch your legs, go to the mail box, run an errand—give your attention to the natural world. Stand in front of a tree and attend to it with your watchful self. Go to a beachfront dock or public space and stare into the water, follow the water birds. Stare into the sky and watch the clouds pass by. Give your undivided attention to Mother Nature.
If you think going outside and staring at a tree is not worth your time--dare to change your mind, and make a tree happy.
It feels good. For you, and for the world. Try it, see what you think.