The Hermit & the Householder

2014-11-01 16.01.11New Year’s Day. I wasn’t up before sunrise this year. I considered it, planned it to a degree. But last night I stayed up with my daughter and our friends, neighbors across the street with kids the same age. My daughter, Esmé, and the neighbor boys wanted to stay up until midnight, until the new year began, and I wanted to do the same. I thought that after midnight, after my daughter went to sleep, and my wife went to sleep, and our friends went to sleep, I would sit up in our back yard with a fire in the fire pit, a shot of whiskey, and I’d do a blog post here.

I did stay up and did blog when we came home at 12:10am, the early morning of January 1, 2015, but I sat up inside on the couch. Outside, it was very cold. When I was finished, I thought about  sleeping for just a few hours and then getting up to see the sun rise on this first day of the new year. The sun rose at about 7:30 this morning.

In traditions of the new year all over the world, people make sure that the first things they do is what they want to be doing all the coming year, and I had to make a decision, as I often do (all year long), between being a Hermit and being a Householder. I decided I’d sleep in, next to Rachel, my wife. I split the difference in my wishes for this coming year between a perfect ascetic life and  a perfect householder. I want, in 2015, to be near to Rachel, to sleep in with her when we have the chance, to have us lay still. And I want to sit late at night/early morning, praying and staring into the flame.

There are many mornings when I’m up early to write, 5am, while Rachel sleeps until later 6:45. I try to make sure that, at least once a week, I sleep in so we can be next to each other. And I thought that this would be how I would begin the year, an emblem of our unity.

So I slept in until 8:30. And now the sun is up. But my wife and daughter are not. Still asleep. It was good to sleep. It was good to lay there smelling her, and to get closer to eight hours of sleep than I usually do. But the dog does not sleep in, and neither does the cat. The chickens most certainly were not sleeping in in their coop. And so I got up.

I’m leading with the path of the householder. Going from the smell of my wife’s shoulder to let the cat in, let the chickens out into the freezing morning air and to check their food. I go to stand there in the kitchen making coffee while the dog tap dances around my feet, ready to go like every other morning.

The sun is up.

Happy New Year.

  2 comments for “The Hermit & the Householder

  1. cathy
    February 2, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I think there is a tremendous amount of wisdom, forgiveness, and grace in being the householder. Feeding the hens and making coffee is the practice. Being present with your family is a gift. The meditation is the walk with the dog, the caring for your family members, accepting a middle-ground for the time being because their needs matter just as much to you as your own do.

    • Adam
      February 2, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Beautifully put, Cathy. And if and when growth is the goal, then as someone who describes themselves as a gregarious introvert, I know that i get to explore and expand my edges of comfort in my life as a householder, even while getting a quality of comfort that is different from what I get when I’m in hermit mode.

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