Do I have to resort to a “selfie” via an empty message board along the river? Okay, so guys just want to have fun.
I’ve resisted using the word “Idiot” rather than “Idler” in the title of this post, although some would say the former would be apropos.
I’ve been fishing every day for more than a week, which is interesting, given the dry conditions in the eastern U.S., and the fact that I’m holding down the fort at home while also helping out an elder each day in the final stages of this life.
Idleness helps to keep me balanced, I suppose. As author Robert Louis Stevenson notes in “An Apology for Idlers,” Idleness does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing lots of stuff not recognized by the status quo.
There, I feel a little better for saying this.
Idleness is at least as important as breaking your chops in industry. But folks who labor all their lives (that is, who work more than necessary to fulfill the basic requirements of a good life for themselves and loved ones) don’t get it when they hear that a fella can prowl along the stream each day or stand in the river of time with a “fishin’ pole” in hand.
It ain’t easy being good at idleness. It’s not easy being curious and investigative or imaginative while others stupidly amass a fortune. Hey, to each his own. I mean, we’ve all got bills to pay and big responsibilities to fulfill. But can’t we strike a happy medium?
We do what we have to do. I may be a writer with a job to check out the milkweed bloom or the beautiful colors on a brook trout, and then try to get other people interested, too. There’s not much compensation for it, but it’s work that I enjoy.
Others might be super busy all their lives and show little or no interest in understanding the world of nature. They don’t seem generous enough to understand this “idleness.” There’s too little wonder or magic in their lives. A true idler, says Stevenson, won’t neglect the intricacy of his own being that is balanced with the world.
Okay, but look at the world of nature out the door. It seems “careless of the single life.” If that’s the case, why should any of us see ourselves as important entities, as candle holders to the universe?
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite,” said the poet William Blake.
As a budding psychology major in 1970, I read Blake’s comment in The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley, a book that profoundly influenced my new “career” as an idler, poet and trout-bum wannabe. And, I learned then that the well-known L.A. rock band took its name from the Blakean phrase and the title of a book.
Idleness, filled with poetry and labor of the soul, is an honorable vocation, whether we fish or sail or pitch a ball, whether we read a good book on a porch or in a hammock, or do most anything for relaxation (except watching television or playing golf).
I’m just kidding about the golf, you know… Hey, the guys and girls just wanna have fun.