I’ve started to get Smithsonian magazine and it gives me a needed break from reading Time magazine. The news is so full of conflict and crazy people doing awful things. There is just so much of that I can stand.

This afternoon my wife and I went over to a Bird and Butterfly garden that is part of the CT Experimental Agricultural Station just a couple miles from where we live. We sat on a bench near a small waterfall with a water lilly garden and just practiced peaceful contemplation for a half hour and hardly spoke with each other. We were the only people there. I noticed how my face relaxes during those times, and how I feel like there is a hint of a smile on my face.

I came home afterwards and read an article in Smithsonian magazine about some Japanese gardens that are also suitable for contemplation (the word used in the article). I looked up that word in the dictionary, and I am growing more fond of it all the time.

Most folks don’t seem to have the capacity to be still, quiet, and to enjoy a natural scene for a half hour or so. Perhaps we view such passivity and inactivity as a sin or a waste of valuable time. As if becoming peaceful and easy inside is a waste of time. What has happened to people that they have lost their natural capacity for peace, ease, and rest, a capacity that our cats and dogs practice with such ease and regularity?