The Italians have a saying: il dolce far niente. This means the sweet doing nothing. And it is as foreign to us as the language itself.
Normally we work everyday. As farmers, postal workers, writers, business owners, homeowners, parents, children, neighbors, and friends, we are constantly busy, busy, busy. Even in the middle of the night, alarms from the farm can yank us awake for some crisis in the automated system, even if the crisis is the system itself. Yikes!
But this Father’s Day weekend my gift to my husband is il dolce far niente. I took him out to dinner last night and then we proceeded to the cabin in Virginia. This morning we slept in, had instant oatmeal and fresh fruit, and are now enjoying a chilly but beautiful morning out on the porch listening to crickets and watching the tall grass blow in the wind like waves in the ocean.
My son’s gift to his dad is that he is making it possible for him to do nothing by working at the farm in his place. Pretty nice present if you ask me. And we have brought nothing to work with, no equipment, no tools, no painting gear. It’s just the sweet doing nothing.
Perhaps it is so sweet because it is rare.
Tonight we expect our son to drive over with his girlfriend for steaks on the charcoal grill and baked potatoes. Then we can watch for the wildlife to materialize as they usually do, while we listen to the night birds. When we drove up last night, a baby deer was wandering through the tall grass in front of the cabin. Later, the wild steer showed up that no one can catch. And as always, plenty of deer. We didn’t see a bear, but it would be nice if we did tonight.
Then again, maybe they are just lying around in the laurel thickets enjoying il dolce far niente as well.
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