The summer is busy isn’t it? At-least, as adults it is. As a kid, by the time the end of July rolled around, I was ready to get back to my friends at school. Enough time in the country, already!
But now, now I long for some time in the country fighting a sun-burn, a few mosquitoes, and a little boredom. Oh the paradox. When I had all the time in the world, I wish I didn’t; now that I don’t… I need it.
One reflection on my time in North Carolina last month is the slower way of life. It isn’t that commerce is less, or there isn’t as much to do. It is that people’s perspective on productivity, community, and work is different. For instance, we went to downtown Waynesville, NC for some grub at Wildfire Grill. Great food. I wandered over to the book store next door and bought the only book ever written on Waynesville (according to the bookstore clerk). Down the street bluegrass music was flowing out into the street from a combination coffee shop, italian ice-creamery, and furniture shop.
We all trickled in to “listen for a spell”. Now it may be the hillbilly lineage I come from, but there was something comforting and calming about the music. Funny stories told with perfect timing in between each song added to the attraction of sitting for the rest of the night. At once I understood what it is which is so special about the smokies. Sure, the scenery is amazing. And the culture is great too, though not so ancient is it. More than the culture though, is what it does to the people. It causes people to relish the moment and not let it pass by.
About the time these things were forming in my brain, a participant (such is the nature of bluegrass) stood up suddenly and began to clog. She was alone and yet not in her own little world. We all watched in amazement and cheered with a clap. Nothing we haven’t seen on he-haw as a kid, but something refreshing and simple about the spontaneous expression by this woman who was simply enjoying the music the way she knew how.
I am no clogger, but I must say I miss opportunities to organically respond to my surroundings and environment. The busyness and intense focus of life in the city causes a self-centeredness that clouds one’s ability to get out of their context and recognize chances to live in the moment. This hurts our relationships of course, but it also is a lot less fun. Summers used to be a time of renewal and restoration. It was this way through the end of college as well. But now, now it is a time of chasing the American dream, doing our best to keep up in traffic, and hoping for some air and time around the next corner.