Friday, October 24, 2014

Alone time

I had a music instructor that once told me that people have too much noise in their lives. Everywhere is a TV, radio, or phone begging for our attention. He was right.

I firmly believe that people have lost the ability to be quiet. They have lost the ability to sit with themselves and think.

I like the radio. I have one in my truck, but when I am by myself I rarely have it on. I would rather think while I drive.

These thoughts went through my head while I had the bittersweet joy of mowing the front yard for the last time this season. Mowing has always been my time. Time to be left alone. Time to think. Time to sing old songs and mangle the words with no one to laugh.

I have always enjoyed mowing. I think I spent most of my teenaged years behind one mower or another. I mowed about 10 yards a week. Not for the money, although the root beer and snickers fund was nice, but for the time alone.

For several hours a week my companion was a single cylinder push mower, the grass, and the fresh air. As I have gotten older my weapon of choice has moved up to a twin cylinder riding mower. It seems that my back doesn't like a push mower much now.

As I rode around in circles I was thinking to years ago when I would put on my tennis shoes, grab a gas can, my mower, and a ballcap, and head off across the neighborhood to mow yards. It was hard work. Our neighborhood was anything but flat, but I enjoyed it.

My dad always told everyone that I hated mowing. I didn't tell him I liked it for fear he would have found a way to make it harder. Maybe barefooted carrying weights. So I kept my enjoy met to myself, and somethow that made it more enjoyable. And made the time to think sweeter.

Today everyone has a personal entertainment system attached to their hips in the form of the smartphone. They have wires hanging from their ears that drain their brain. They cannot think. They have to be entertained.

To be honest I had a Walkman. And I listened to it, but not when I mowed.

As I pushed the mower around with its blade slicing through the grass, turning the tangled green blades into a smooth carpet, I could think. I was left alone.

If a child now has to mow a yard it is inhumane and social services gets called. If a child has to sit in silence they will explode. But to me it is one of life's little pleasures.

I recently made 3 trips to Mississippi. 600 miles one way. For the majority of that time the radio was off. The engine was entertaining enough. As the miles slipped under my tires I relaxed. I thought. I worked over problems. I came up with answers. I was alone with myself.

So take some advice from someone who enjoys the silence. Turn off the TV, turn down the radio, unhook the headset, and enjoy the time alone. It will be uncomfortable at first. You will hate the silence, but after a while your brain will engage and you can think.

Sit and watch the sunset. Watch it rain. Just enjoy being