I pulled into an isolated parking spot overlooking the lake. I had been given the precious gift of a couple dozens of minutes of solitude—the absence of the need to be somewhere or by someone. I chose to be quiet and pray and reflect. It was warm enough to roll down the car window to feel the fresh air and listen to the birds. The grayness of February seemed over and the first day of March was coming in as a lamb. It was peaceful.

Several joggers and bikers passed by on the trail between the lake and me. Every one of them had ear phones in their ears, plugged into some iPod or music player. (Mine was tucked away in my pack.) Distractions. They were missing so much right here around them, the sound and presence of nature, the present moment, God…

“I have chosen not to distract myself with such things…”, I heard my inner judge and chief labeler say smugly to itself. “I’m being present to the moment by listening to the birds and the gentle breeze and…”

“Ah! But am I?” Another inner voice softly asked. How present was I truly to the reality of the now? Wasn’t it just a moment ago where I had been lost and distracted onto the trail of my own thoughts? Did I not replace the distraction of music with the distraction of my own babbling discourse in my mind?


Be quiet, Mark. “You talk too much.”

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