(Not so) far from the madding crowd

There were approximately three ga-zillion people at last weekend’s Faire on the Square. The requisite bounce house was filled with kids. Churches, banks, dentists and the sanitation department were handing out thousands of tchotchkes to thousands of passers-by. Cotton candy and gyro vendors couldn’t keep up with the demand.

And then there was this woman. She found the one empty space, parked her beach chair, and read a book. Her capacity to claim a place of solitude in the midst of craziness took my breath away. You can’t just up and do that: it requires some practice. It requires amazing focus and mindfulness. Good for her.

My friend Curtis wonders whether the ubiquitous wearing of iPods in public is a way of trying to find solitude in a culture of constant bombardment, social networking, and buzz. How do you find solitude? How are our bounce-housing children learning to claim it?

Her own private urban beach


About amymccreath

I'm a pastor and mother who loves to make connections between people, between ideas, and between stuff we label "sacred" and "secular." I aspire to be like a Cedar of Lebanon in the midst of the changes and chances of life, but like most folks, generally find that I can really only navigate the tumult hand in hand with others. Good coffee helps, too.
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2 Responses to (Not so) far from the madding crowd

  1. mompriest says:

    Lately I’ve been working out at a local fitness club. For many years I have resisted such clubs because I thought they’d be overwhelming for my little introverted self. But the reality is I find the gym to be a very self focused experience. Many people wear iPods and ear-buds while working out on the “equipment” and the classes encourage a focus on what each person can do without a competative edge. Add to that the fact that I am completely anonymous. No one around me knows my name, nor do they know that I am a priest, nor a mom. They might presume, if they looked, that I am married because I wear rings. But I really like the anonymity of the experience. I like going there and working hard, focuing on getting healthy, and not much else.

    On the other hand I do have a very hard time reading in public with a lot of noise and distraction going on around me. It does take a lot practice…but I have not made this one of my disciplines….LOL

  2. Lindsey says:

    I’m amazed by that woman as well – wow. I can’t even muster that kind of focus when I’m alone in the silence!

    I’ve been trying in vain to find your email … need to reschedule next Tuesday … why can’t I figure out your email address?


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