Concentrating on useless things… It’s what people used to do when they went on holiday. Some still do, but many now make sure they have a full schedule: serious walking, or mini courses in oil-painting or pony-trekking or scuba diving. Is the ‘uselessness’ of holidays – in spite of the fact that the French call them vacances and the Americans ‘vacations’ (‘empty’ times) – becoming a thing of the past?
Perhaps so, but for those of us who are still looking for the opportunity to concentrate on useless things, there is always a retreat. Chaucer famously said spring was the time for pilgrimages, and back in the fourteenth century, no doubt he was right. But for me, it is summer rather than spring that summons me to make a retreat. As I finished mine recently, I found after eight days that I was ready to move out, refreshed and with sharpened vision. I had found many ‘useless’ things to claim my attention.