Empty Time

The ancient Hebrew word for holy, kadosh, means separation, because when we separate ourselves from quotidian tasks – the busyness involved in making a living and a comfortable home – we can experience the vastness, the eternal, the greater sphere beyond our more grounded selfish concerns.  We have to give ourselves to empty time to find meaning.  Empty time is also valuable for creativity.  Neuroscience reveals that when our brain is on idle and not devoted to specific tasks, when we daydream and doodle in our mind, we can achieve new insights and make creative leaps.  (From More Than Meets the Eye: Exploring Nature and Loss on the Coast of Maine, Margie Patlak, p. 61)

In daydream and doodle where does a mind go?

To stopping at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory on this most beautiful morning as there is nothing more pressing to do today than to ascend and see.

Time for lunch that has time to flow beyond the list of questions to the wonder of reconnecting. To have time to tell of the things that might have taken days to tell.  

Wonder time and time for questions without answers.

Where is the Wind?

To what am I called?

Empty time that leads me wandering the woods and wondering.  

Writing time and solitary time and time to meet wonderful new people on the trail.  

Someone asked me how it was to be alone in the woods and I said I never felt alone and did not. It wasn’t only that I met people on the trail each day like the two young men by the fire with whom I shared dinner and listened to their stories. The two middle age men who had strung their wet belongings in long lines throughout the lean-to, (did they fall in the stream during the crossing?) delighted to be here and hiking on this trail and not the 100 Mile Wilderness which took a lot more effort than they were finding so easily here. Who directed me to the campsite they had passed down the trail, a good wide space with not too many roots, there by the stream.  Yes, the hiker who left me laughing all day with her comment that she didn’t find the 100 Mile Wilderness hard but only beautiful while I had found it most certainly both! No, even when alone, never alone. Perhaps it was writing, scribbles along the way, sitting on a log at the close of the day by the pond.  Perhaps those times of stopping in the woods and breathing when I had got too caught up in getting somewhere when there was no place to get. Perhaps meditation on mountaintops, perhaps the little videos I made and pictures I sent to friends and family to share the experience with them. Perhaps because I knew why I was there. Whatever it was, it was never alone. Perhaps, home.  

Home as miraculous and temporary as the beauty of a fall day bright blue sky and brilliant tree – orange, yellow, green and red.  

Home in the circle that gathers below the red tail hawk circling above.  

Home talking over Zen at dinner and drifting in kayaks to watch the sunset.  

Home in the Bible study on the lawn with the old man and other old people on Zoom

and young girl sitting beside me who left home to find a wider perspective.  

Home of apple crisp and peanut butter cookies you made just because you cannot help but serve and share for that is what happens at home.

At home in the Maine woods.

In the unsettlement of emptying, 

And the dislocation of nothing to hold to, 

At home where everything can happen,

The discovery of what we are about and why.

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