This weekend, my street is hosting a yard sale. Nearly every household up and down the lane is contributing old rockers, and mismatched sets of glasses, mini-fridges and used rugs. Once this extravaganza of purging is over, most of us will retreat for a season — to lake or simply to our backyards — to weed rows of peas, watch for the red-tailed hawk, read a novel. We will ease up, even if our lives don’t conform to academic schedules.
I tell friends that once I have submitted my grades and ordered my books for the fall, I look around for the nearest invisibility cloak. An acquaintance used to refer to her “bubble” — the necessary month of detachment from school friends and gossip and subtle, omnipresent competition, in which she could remember the sound of the ocean, and think long thoughts by herself without smiling into the school years’ endless pick-up lines.
Summer has always promised a hiddenness that I value beyond measure. In a beautiful new book by the poet, David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, the author offers delicious and wise reflections on words we use often without appreciating their laden-ness — the richness of nuance and suggestion that are there for the picking.
In his entry on “Hiddenness,” he writes this:
“We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early, and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with ideas that oppress ours sense of self and ours sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us doesn’t not care to be known by the ind in ways that diminish its presence.”
To this, I saw, Amen, and thanks.
Beneath the cloak of summer, I plan to let what is real unfold at its own pace. I invite you to do the same.