Every once and again on a holiday or weekend, Jaron and I will declare a “cabin day”.  It’s a time to shun personal electronics and try to retrain our brains for a slower, more present way of living.  We make meals that take time, listen to music without lyrics, make sure Banjo gets a long walk, read, and most of all, look around.  It’s a time when, as Jaron said, “the cardinal regains its rightful place” as the most enthralling thing to vie for our attention over coffee.  Sometimes I get my way (read: on my birthday) and we even camp out in the living room with our dog the night before.

It used to be that I looked forward to these times with a little trepidation.  I’m pretty sure Portlandia got their idea for the technology loop skit by watching me.  My mind isn’t very good at being idle, and when it is I realize how idle my body and spirit have been, too, and to be honest, I’m just too lazy to let that happen very often.

This year we are invoking cabin days for all of the lenten season, and while I know it’s a long time and there will be moments of frustration, I really can’t wait to start.  I love being exposed to different pieces of writing and music online, seeing what my peers are working on, and hearing from people I don’t get to see in my day-to-day life.  But much of the time my mind receives sharing as an entry in a competition for whose work is most worthwhile.  Or whose haircut.

Last week Andrew Peterson shared a Huffington Post link – a short article with Nick Cave’s response to his nomination for the MTV Music Awards several years ago.  I was shocked and relieved to read it.  Finally, a reminder that competition in art, whether for money or attention, is a mutation of its purpose, a cheapening of the source of beauty.

The sense of my hands in the dough, or the sound of their interaction with the strings, of honesty in a song that is too difficult to communicate any other way, of enjoying a long laugh with my spouse and refraining from diluting it along the information waves.  It sounds like the good life.  Like indulging in freedom.  I’m looking forward to this time, even just the feeling of it coming on.

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