Sunday, September 5, 2010

Extreme weather and Weekend reflections.

It is Sunday, September fifth, 2010 as I write this. At 7:30 in the evening, the sun has gone down low enough that it would now be dark in the forest, and long sleeves are going to be necessary when I venture outside. It is the first weekend of school season here in Nova Scotia.

As a boy, Sunday evening meant the Ed Sullivan show: I saw all my favourite musical acts there; The Beatles, the Dave Clark 5, The Hollies, The Doors, and Petula Clarke whose music still touches me in a way that no one else’s can.

As I grew older and became a teenager, I began playing music on the weekends. During the summer when there was no school, it was easy to overlook Sunday other than the fact that I had more money than my friends because of the weekend’s gigs, but as September came and school resumed, Sunday meant a restful turning point for me. It was the end of the combined activities of the week and weekend. Friday wasn’t really restful because after school I would have to prepare for the night’s performance. After we finished the gig, we’d often end up at an all night diner a few kilometres from home and stay there literally all night. Saturday there was always a basketball game or other activity at the school and I’d be there with all my friends, then perform again that night and again, spend the night at the diner. Sunday was either more activities at the school or jamming with friends other than the band. Sunday evening marked the end of the partying and activity.

After I finished high school, I worked at day jobs, again performing on the weekends, but even my non-musician friends among you will recognize the pattern: I play music; you listen to it or dance to it, but the continuation from week to weekend really seems uninterrupted and seamless.

Once I became a professional musician, we’d most often be booked in a venue for six consecutive nights before heading on to the next one. Sunday was travel day and upon checking into the hotel in the next town, Sunday night would once again be a time of rest for me.

I began to appreciate the pattern last year while living in Fredericton and working for Los Cabos drumsticks. The weekend was a time of doing the things that didn’t get done during the week; laundry, grocery shopping, and of course cycling and visiting friends and family members.

Yesterday, a tropical storm (what was left of Hurricane Earl) blew through the area, leaving us without power for over fifteen hours. As darkness fell, I sat on the couch, looking out my living room window at the frantic activities of the villagers. Cars left driveways and returned, flashlights bobbed as people walked, or ran, often no further than next door. It was as if everybody suddenly had more to do than normal. Eventually I began to resent all the lights interrupting the darkness. Once the clouds cleared, there were more stars than I have seen since my last wilderness camping trip many years ago. It was hot in the house and I was perfectly contented to sit and do nothing, hear nothing, see nothing.

With no electricity, there was no TV, no computer, no reading, no streetlights... No need... no urgency to do anything other than just BE!

Tonight, as I sit here in my “Zen Zone,” again, there is no TV, no music playing, hardly any lights on in the house. I appreciate these moments of silent inactivity in a life full of doing, in a world full of noise.

~Still Wandering...


  1. there were a lot of stars, it was amazing.
    Julia (o;

  2. There is a human need for stillness. I believe this with everything in me.

    The human mind is a wild wonderful and often terrifying place. It does not want to "be", it wants to fly in all directions using its powers to take us here and there and every where. It needs to be told "peace" know that you are and that is enough.

    My work is very high stress. Even when I am aware I am stressed and to ease up I can't always do that. So I have found a dark place to where I go and no one knows I'm there and I am content just to be. Whiteyjon often sings the blues but only "cause he wants to...

    Enjoyed the post as always, all my best from the Gyroscopic Northwestern.


  3. The human mind is afraid of the silence and stillness. Is it conditioning? Is it because we were brought up to be "productive" and stillness is not seen as productive. Meditation is for the mind what a tune-up is for your car's engine; reducing sluggishness and improving efficiency. I guess it even saves you money, because if you're Meditating, you're not spending!

    Om Shanti.

  4. I remember that night after the storm cleared. The night sky was crystal clear. I went outside for a while on my deck and spent a couple of hours looking up at the stars and thinking. It was still, quiet and dark. I saw a few shooting stars which were a lovely sight. This was a supremely peaceful, happy time for me. I gave thanks for all the blessings in my life, cleared my mind and enjoyed just "being". The stillness and silence gave me a chance to clear my mind. The whole experience was like a treat for me.

  5. I love those moments. There is a place by the river in my hometown where a rock rises out of the earth. I'd go there and sit on that rock and if not meditate, then enjoy the sunset, or a family of ducks swimming among the grasses at the water's edge. It was there that I learned to appreciate my own council and company. Today, I have only to think of that place and the world is safe again.

    Thank you all for sharing these moments with me. As Muriel counted her blessings, I count all my followers among my blessings.

  6. In today's society are so caught up with "be productive, increase your output", and getting things done by the "multitasking mindset". We are on the rat race treadmill going to....where?

    We have forgotten how to really "be in the moment" or as I like to refer to it as "mindfulness".

    Even when people are exercising on the treadmill they are reading, or watching TV or listening to music. Again doing too many things at once. Why can we not just listen to our bodies while we are on the treadmill. Listen to the sound of our breathing, the beating of our heart. Be mindful of the rhythm of our feet as they touch the treads. And the feel of the muscles in our feet and legs working (and to appreciate how well it all works). We have forgotten how to be in touch with ourselves.

    To sit and smell the air, to listen to the wind in the grass or the leaves. Feel the warmth of the sunshine or the cool breeze on our face. To close our eyes to experience these more deeply. Are these things forgotten by all except the few (enlightened people) who take the time to really do this. To open the "good eye" and become more aware. To let ourselves be open to seeing these things. And to be rewarded and refreshed by these gifts of beauty.

    Instead of being annoyed at a traffic light that has just turned red.....visually explore the area at the intersection. Notice the people, the trees, the architecture of the buildings, the way the sunlight shines on these things.

    Be in the moment. And value it.


  7. I am getting closer to that Barb... As you yourself said, there's less "urgency" in my life now.


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