In my opinion thinking is a much underrated pastime, often confused with indolence and idleness by those who do not allow their thoughts to roam freely and often. I can recommend doing nothing but thinking as a wonderful way to pass an hour or two, preferably in a hammock with a glass of wine to hand.
You can take a book, pretending to spend time improving or enriching your mind, but I guarantee within a few minutes the book will fall unhurriedly to your chest as your eyes are caught by, perhaps, the swaying of the branches overhead, the fantastical shape of a scudding cloud, or your breath is taken away by the violet blueness of a vibrant summer sky.
This implies good weather but the sense of relaxation can equally by achieved with the same glorious results curled in a chair on a rainy day, watching the ribbons of rain snaking down the window pane, and listening to the popping of scented wood burning slowly in a fire grate, watching smoke wisping in spirals up the chimney.
It’s an opportunity to set all your senses free to explore the space around you. The ticking of a clock, the scent of roses, the feel of the fabric of the chair holding you safe, the taste of springtime on your tongue (try it), the glimpse of the living world outside your window.
I’ve always felt guilty about my thinking time but it is a delicious and necessary pleasure. Every day I try to find a moment or two of stillness to just be. Having a dog comes in handy, a grand excuse to find a secluded spot somewhere in the woods or by the sea.
It was with great delight I received an email from the Captain recently, forwarding an article published in the UK Independent newspaper by the author, playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker Hanif Kureishi. The article is no longer available at the Independent but I found it reproduced on a blog so click the link if you’re interested in reading it.
Entitled The Art of writing: Hanif Kureishi reveals how to succeed in the worlds of fiction and film, it wasn’t so much the title of the article that engaged me, rather some of his comments in it descibing how he spent his time.
‘I can’t begin to tell you what hard work it is looking out of the window and wondering about your favourite pen, and which colour ink you prefer that day, but few will be convinced.”’
A man after my own heart who understands the point of being lost in thought, whatever that thought may be. I’m so relieved.
I was beginning to think I was a lazy and self indulgent, shooting the breeze while the rest of the world focused on making their hamster-wheel lives turn ever faster. But now I know I’m not alone, there are other day-dreamers like me. Some have bigger dreams than others but that’s not the point – it’s allowing yourself to dream, to lose yourself for a while, that matters.
The cushions on my chair are plumped, the cup of tea beside it steaming, and those sliding raindrops on the window are calling…