Tuesday, March 01, 2016
A Vacation for the Soul
"If you are preparing the ear of the spirit for the voice of God, a voice sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, then flee external cares; so that when your inner sense is disentangled and free, you may say with the prophet Samuel, 'speak Lord, for your servant is listening' (I Kings 3:10). For the voice of God does not speak amid the din and bustle of the world, nor is it heard in any public gathering. Rather secret counsel seeks to be heard also in secret. And so because of this, happiness will be given to us if we listen to God in solitude." St. Bernard
It can be a challenge for Ruth and I to get full days off together with her Monday to Friday-ish work, and my weekend commitments. Yesterday we were both free as larks so we went to the birds, in a manner of speaking.
We took the ferry to Amherst Island and drove around enough to coat our vehicle in muddy goo. We slogged in the snow-covered seasonal road and wandered through the owl woods, a remarkable sanctuary for many kinds of these birds of prey. It turned out that we saw hawks rather than owls, and fed chickadees from our hands.
The greatest gift was the silence and solitude. No one else was crazy enough to hike in on a Monday and when we stopped we heard only the wind in the trees and the chirping of birds. Until a plane flew overhead we heard nothing human, and it was wonderful.
Across the island there are signs protesting the possibility of wind turbines, and who can blame people. It isn't convenient living on the island in some respects, but the gift of silence is a good reason to be there. Turbines are noisy and intrusive.
We both felt that we were spiritually nourished by our couple of hours on the island, a vacation for our souls.
This isn't the first time I've mused about solitude and silence, but I would be glad to hear your thoughts.