REV. GAIL LINDSAY MARRINER
UU Santa Fe Minister
We travelled over the kids’ spring break this year. We visited Boston and DC, the first to visit with grandparents and the second just to see the sights. It was good to see Nathaniel’s parents again – his Dad can’t travel and it had been over a year. DC was intense. We stayed a few blocks off the Mall and spent hours visiting museums and monuments– the Vietnam and Lincoln memorials, the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, the African American Museum and the national Museum of the American Indian, the Folger Shakespeare Library. We tried to take it slow – to give everything the time it deserved, but there was just so much to see. Even at two locations per day we were overwhelmed. Why is it that when we travel we try to see it all in several large gulps and when we live somewhere and could explore at our leisure we only ever go see any of it when we have out of town guests? What does it say about how we live that we travel to faraway places to binge on brief intense experiences and then cruise on autopilot at home?
What would it be like, I wonder, to visit DC and spend several hours a day for several days at just one museum? For that matter, what would it be like to spend several hours a week or a month at just one museum or park or monument here at home? Which places would reward that level of attention? How would it change our experience of our place, of our lives? The Upstart Readers (parents and adult friends of the Upstart Crows) do a “close read” of whichever Shakespeare play the kids are performing next. We read the play very slowly over several months stopping to ask questions and discuss every few lines. It’s fun and it makes watching the performances far more rewarding. What if we engaged some of the familiar places on our life journeys the same way – slowing down, stopping every few steps to notice and explore, visiting the same places over and over again? Our ordinary day to day lives happen in an extraordinary place, what if we chose to experience our ordinary lives in this extraordinary place with the same intention (and much greater leisure) as we would grant to some destination far away? How would it change our journey?