Opinion

Letting things go

Rhonda Silence starnews@boreal.org unorganizedterritory.me

I’ve mentioned my New Year’s resolution a few times since I declared that I was making one in January. Mostly I’ve noted that I have completely failed in keeping my resolution. What was that resolution? I vowed to finish just one thing before starting something else.

I had hopes of finishing an entire News-Herald article without getting sidetracked by a phone call or email or text. I thought that with resolve I could finish a household task such as getting the monthly bills filed or sorting the bin of mismatched socks in the laundry room. I planned on planning my Girl Scout troop activities far into the future.

I have not had any luck in following through with my resolution. In fact, in just the three paragraphs I’ve written, I’ve stopped three times to jot down notes about something else that I need to remember to do. And I likely will stop three times while doing those other tasks as well.

The last time I talked about my failed resolution, detailing my frenetic attempt to finish just one thing around the house, reporter Brian Larsen laughed. Proofreading the column, he said it could also describe his life. Absolutely true, I know, because as he proofreads each week, he—like all of us in the office—stops several times to answer the phone, greet someone at the front desk or write something down that must not be forgotten.

I guess most adults would agree with Brian and me that it is impossible to finish just one thing. It’s part of being a grownup, I guess.

We are lucky here in the Northland though. Although we are always busy, it is mostly with good things. Cook County has amazing things happening nearly every day—there are concerts and open mike nights; plays and presentations and gallery openings. There are opportunities to get active— walks and runs, paddleboard and skijoring demonstrations, as well as a plethora of festivals to attend. It’s mostly okay to be busy.

We are also lucky that once in awhile, not often enough, but once in awhile, we are able to take a break to just sit by the lake.

I did just that recently when I had just a few minutes to spare between appointments. I had finished up an interview with someone for a story and I had a very short window of time before I had to head to yet another meeting. I drove to The Point, the paved parking area next to Boulder Park and the Coast Guard Station, and just sat in my car, watching the waves.

What a blessing to be able to do that. Of course it is better to have more time, to walk to the water’s edge and listen to the gentle lapping— or pounding—of the waves. It’s wonderful when a person has time to sit on the shore and perhaps skip a stone or two. A walk out to the lighthouse on the rugged break wall or a hike to the point of The Point across the craggy rock formations is even better for the heart and soul.

But if there isn’t time, a quick drive to The Point, to just sit quietly in the car for a few minutes is soothing. Seizing a few minutes to check out what color the lake is— periwinkle blue or slate gray—and to watch the gulls glide across the surface of Superior can make all the difference in one’s mood. A little bit of time by the lake gives renewed energy and focus. After a bit of time by the lake, I begin to believe that I can finish just one thing.

Actually, time by the lake makes me realize that I shouldn’t focus so much on finishing just one thing. Sitting by our vast inland sea, I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my worries are pretty small. Things will get done when they get done. I have very little control about all those interruptions and irritations. Being by the lake makes me think that like the cobblestones on the beach that let the waves wash over them, I too should just let things go.

Perhaps I should make a new resolution. Instead trying so hard to finish just one thing, I should resolve to spend more time sitting by the lake. Care to join me?

A lake is the landscape’s most
beautiful and expressive feature.
It is earth’s eye; looking into which
the beholder measures the depth
of his own nature.

Henry David Thoreau


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