"I've learned a thing or two about human behavior on trout streams. I've discovered that patience serves better than haste, that silence is a virtue, and concentration it's own reward, and that I, at least, like to fish alone; trout fishing should not become a contest." - From Charles Kuralt, America,and his time in Montana.
A friend gave me the book by Charles Kuralt,the great volume just quoted, America, in 1996. I'm just now reading it for the first time and enjoying it immensely. Kuralt had just recently retired from CBS Television where he was such a great teacher. He decided to travel our country, living for a month in each of many different places across the nation. He spends his first month of the new year, January, in New Orleans, then goes to Key West, Florida for a second month. Then he's on to Charleston, SC, and Connecticut, North Carolina, Alaska, Minnesota, Maine, Montana, and other great spots.
What's most amazing about the book are the people he meets and visits along the way, many of whom live in remote circumstances, and enjoy their lives in exemplary ways. The wisdom of ordinary people, and especially those who live outside the mainstream of pop culture, can be extraordinary.
I began with the quote I did because of what it praises:
Patience. Silence. Concentration. Solitude. And acting in a non-competitive way, doing something for its own sake, and for no intrinsic reason.
We need to incorporate more of these things into our lives. When we do so, we'll thrive and flourish, feeling a sense of fulfillment that's nearly impossible amid haste, noise, distraction, and an elbowing, pushing crowd of people trying to get ahead of each other, and us. It's hard to capture these elusive things in our world of hustle and flash. But they will bless us, when we make room for them.
So please remember today the benefits of patience, silence, concentration, solitude, and the rare art of doing for its own sake. Give yourself the room to just be. Then your natural joy, your proper bliss, can bubble forth and bless your spirit, allowing you to go on to bless others, in turn.
PS. And by the way: Search your shelves for some old book you haven't read yet. You may be surprised at what you can find within its covers.