Saturday, January 15, 2011

Teri David Thoreau

I don't know what y'all were doing today mid-morning, but I was sitting in my van outside church while Joseph altar-served at a 40-Day Memorial Mass (a Filipino tradition). Yes, I might have run home to clean something or to Target to buy something, but I opted instead for some quiet alone time with my book and my iPhone.

I'm still reading Walden. I've been reading it for well over a month, maybe it's even two now. I don't hate it, but it certainly isn't a page turner. Today I thought that if Henry David Thoreau knew I'd read his book intermittently playing Words With Friends and checking facebook - he would probably puke. And I'll admit, some of his philosophizing is lost on me (when occasionally I realize I've read half a page whilst daydreaming, I rarely reread it), but since I reached a section on "Sounds" today I made a note of what I was hearing.

My van window was down. It was a beautiful day. Do you know that in Edmonton Alberta, they've been dealing with a blizzard and temperatures reaching 36 BELOW? Below freezing. How inconceivable is that? And there I was with the window down in January feeling the warmth of the sunshine enough to park so that it wouldn't beat down on my face. But back to what I was hearing. First I noticed the chirping of the birds. Maybe just one bird. My ear isn't trained to decipher how many birds, but I'm fairly sure it was a genuine bird. In some young tree in our parish parking lot. Next the whirring of a small-engine airplane overhead. Do you ever stop and listen whether the whirring is getting louder and faster and closer? As if you're about to make the evening news when it crashes near you in a cornfield? No? Me neither.

After the chirping and the whirring was the hum of the cars going by on the parkway. When that quieted, I could hear the buzz of the power lines. In my observation, the buzzing grew louder as the morning wore on and I had to deduce that people were awakening in their Saturday-morning houses and turning on their coffee makers and griddles, hence more power line activity.

Finally, there was the settling-ticking sound of an engine cooling in the parking space next to mine. It was a silver Lexus. With a rosary wrapped around the rear-view. While the Lexus cooled, its driver mourned - but I just sat there with my Thoreau and my facebook.

All this from just one hour of solitude. Imagine if, like Thoreau, I parked my booty on Walden Pond for a few seasons and tried to grow beans. My blog would become intolerable. That's all I'll say.

Except... look at that post time! (Below.)
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