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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

From Cat Island to Lake Tahoe

The clocks are working, we just don't hear them ticking

“The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder.”

This passage from Oliver Burkeman’s book, Four Thousand Weeks, took me back about three thousand weeks, to a place where time seemed to stand still. A place where the clocks worked, we just couldn’t hear them ticking.

As a child on Cat Island, I recall sensing a basic ‘rightness’ in our use of time: Life, as I knew it, was joyful, real, meaningful, and the world was majestic.

Mondays melted into the weekends and holidays with no distinction. We weren’t expected to stay indoors. There was too much to experience in the lagoon, along the beach, under the rocks, around the reefs, on the cliffs, and with the natives.

Our days were never spent trying to ‘get through’ tasks, to get them ‘out of the way’, but rather to enjoy the wonder, and to experience more of that wonder.

We got up with the sun and slept at dusk. We didn’t wait for inspiration to strike; we were surrounded by it.

I savor these childhood memories. They remind me today to slow down and enjoy a more grateful and fluid kind of magic from my surroundings.

Like Cat Island, Lake Tahoe is such a place. Whether it’s the water, mountains, sunsets, or smiles, Lake Tahoe reminds us of the fluid magic in our surroundings from the air we breathe, and water we drink, to the breathtaking sights. It’s a place where there’s no urge to hurry and it encourages us to pay more attention.

The challenge is to avoid letting our life become so conventional we take the good things around us for granted. “As each passing year converts … experience into automatic routine,” wrote William James, "soon the days and the weeks smooth themselves out and the years grow hollow and collapse.”

Whether it's on a tropical island, Alpine Lake, or anywhere else for that matter, the world is bursting with wonder and it's our privilege to experience more of it.

“If there are flaws in your paradise," said Henry Miller, "open more windows!”


Hello! I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a teacher, freelance writer, and photographer. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email:

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May 03, 2023

Well done!

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