I cannot remember the exact moment of recognition, but I think it occurred early afternoon on the second full day of our writing workshop. I rediscovered time. Oh, I forget what day of the week it was and heaven knows I stopped reading the newspaper or checking online news services. But in losing track of time, I regained it.
Here in Collegeville, where the peace is thick and soft like homemade bread and the northern Minnesota accents drizzle you with their sing-song cheerfulness. Collegeville. The name itself sounds like a town in a nostalgic American dream. Complete with an Abbey Church whose bells knell the quarter hour.
Rediscovery of time meant the rediscovery of my inner self, my introverted self. By affording us generous portions of solitude for writing in the morning and early afternoon, our workshop schedule fostered self-discovery. Not unlike the nearby Benedictine monks who live their version of work-life balance in a spiritual rhythm of prayerful solitude, worshipful gathering and then prayerful solitude.
I knew I had this introverted side but I didn’t realize how neglected it was until I came here. Gazing out the window wall of my apartment—designed by an architectural master of the Modernist movement—I could see the lake peeking through the luxuriant green sworl of honeysuckle and hardwood. I could feel time at my disposal. It was my time and I didn’t want to lose it. No excuses.
I entered into it with my best faith effort, allotting as many minutes as I could to journal writing about my days in Collegeville, reviewing my fellow writers’ pieces for our afternoon sessions and stealing reads of our Zen-inspired writing guide.
My wife and I like to take Sunday drives to the ocean and small towns that dot the northern California coast. My inevitable line, “I could live here,” has become such a mantra that I have given permission to her and my son to use it as an epitaph on my gravestone. Well, here I go again: I could live here.