|A picture of doing nothing|
One of the hardest things in life is to do nothing. In today’s society, it is an act of defiance, a bold declaration liable to earn you one of the worse labels any American could be saddled with–lazy. Once upon a time we were perhaps good at doing nothing, but it is a skill that even in this age when actual employment is hard to come by, is rarely looked at favorably. To do nothing is to swim upstream and risk being clubbed over the head for your efforts.
This is true of Americans even when we vacation. Vacations are supposed to be a rest from all the doing, and yet most of us just go right on about our business, discovering what there is to do in the new place and spending our precious “free” time consumed with activities. Think about the travel brochures for resorts, hotels and parks which provide a helpful list of “Things to Do.”
This fall break, my husband and I got as close to perfecting the doing of nothing as might be possible in a two day period.
|Sunrise over the lake|
We did nothing at Edgewater Resort on Taylorsville Lake, in Taylorsville, Kentucky. This man-made lake was created by the Army Corps of Engineer in 1974, so as man-made lakes go, it’s not very old. This may explain why I’d never heard of Taylorsville Lake until this two-night deal came across my e-mail inbox courtesy of Living Social. The lake is only about 30 minutes from downtown Louisville, and surrounded by Taylorsville Lake State Park. You could drive within a mile of this lake through the Kentucky landscape, and if you weren’t looking for it, you’d have no idea it was there.
Our cottage at Edgewater Resort looked over the state park marina, and so we could sit out on the back deck and watch boats putting into the water and being pulled back out. The sound carried up the side of the hill in a way that made conversations perfectly audible from our back deck, one of the mysteries of growing up in a land of hills and valleys which I’ve always loved. Listening to the sounds of boats being lowered into the water and the conversations of people at the marina was about the only interruption in our complete and total doing of nothing.
So, okay, in the interest of complete honesty, there was some eating. We loaded up on food at the Whole Foods in Louisville before we headed down to Taylorsville on Monday evening. And we did open a bottle or two of wine. There was the strain of lifting the cover off the hot tub sitting on the back deck of all the cottages at Edgewater Resort. And I will admit that I read almost two whole books (yes, two more in the Chief Inspector Gamache series about which I will not shut up).
But beyond those mild exertions, we sat on the back deck. We watched boats come and go. We noticed the way the light changed over the surface of water. We waited for the stars to come out. We noticed the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. We did nothing.
It was hard at times. Hard to ignore the informational brochures with their lists of local attractions which the nice woman provided us when we checked in. Hard to suppress the urge to go for a hike or get a massage or check out the Mexican restaurant we passed along the road. Hard to ignore e-mails and the looming tasks that lay beyond those two days. But we persisted. We stuck with it.
We did nothing.