Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Lonely Bench

I'm lucky. For almost three years, I've lived 1/2 mile from a beautiful lake.

It has provided me with stunning views and peaceful moments on my countless walks along its perimeter. I am embarrassed to admit however, that a passive stranger invites me to stop and sit for a while each time I visit. Not once have I accepted. You see, it would interrupt my cardio workout, delay my other planned activities for the day and decrease my mileage goal. I'm not alone either. I've never seen anyone even take notice of this edifice, a forgotten  bench. I feel sorry for it, so when I go by I smile, promise to rest on it next time, but never do.

A Lonely Bench

Yesterday that changed. I strolled down to the lake for the sole purpose of sitting on that bench. What happened?

First of all, it's quite comfortable. It must be made of a soft weather resistant material. As I settled in, I became acutely aware of my senses. Here's a photo essay of what I experienced:

I heard the chattering of leaves that never fell.
I smelled their decay.

I saw how the sun had gradually melted the ice.
I heard the ripples of the water.

I felt the wind push rain clouds away.
I smelled the mist of rain.
I saw the blue sky peeking through the clouds.
I heard the wind blow.

I saw about 100 shades of grey.

I felt the mist of cold rain.
I heard light rain strike the ice and water.
I tasted the mist.

I heard the caws, tweets and squawks of distant birds.
I saw them scamper on the thin ice then fly away.

I also became aware of my own breathing and smelled the life of the lake. I'd say I had an unplanned meditation.

What was the result?

A relaxed, tranquil feeling that so many strive to achieve.

When it was time to go I calmly stood and thanked the bench. It provided me with a free seat to one of nature's often ignored performances. No wonder it had asked me to sit down each time I passed by. It had so much to show me. I promised the bench I'd stop by again. This time I was sincere. As I strolled back home, I saw two other walkers. We nodded at each other and smiled. I almost told them about the bench, but didn't. You see, I'm a little shy and a little selfish. I think I'll keep the secret of the bench to myself  for awhile. Once the word gets out about all it has to offer, it just may have a lot more company and not enough room for me.

Is there someplace you want to go that is only minutes from your home, but you never make the time for it? Tell us about it. 

Old Blue Chair by Kenny Chesney. This song tells about how valuable an old chair can be. Love the lyrics.


"If you are a dreamer, come in..." Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is a collection of poems and drawings - a perfect light read for some kick back time in your favorite chair.


You never know what can happen on a bench:

“He was sitting on a bench at The Manasquan Inlet — the famous surf spot — with a couple buddies. When my husband mouthed to us as we were walking by, ‘that’s Bruce Springsteen,’ we all could not believe it, but when we realized it was him, he saw Ed’s guitar and Bruce said, ‘ Let me hear that box, play that thing.’
“That was when Ed turned over the guitar and Bruce rolled up the sleeves of his green flannel shirt and started strumming. I asked if I could take a few pics and he said ‘sure’ and moved over on the bench so that the couple could sit down! He sang a little ditty about how they were getting married in a month and improvised with the small amount of info we had given him when we approached … it was awesome!
“Although the moment was only that, a moment, lasting maybe five minutes, it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us and a true account of what can happen at the Jersey Shore! Bruce walked off into the sunset … he might be the coolest dude ever! He was happy to be sitting there on this bench by the beach at sunset playing for all of us!”

Read more: Springsteen NJ beach couple photographer speaks! | Blogness on the Edge of Town


  1. All of this and Bruce, too? Lovely reflective moments and I'm glad I stopped in to share them.

    Thanks for coming by the Write Game. I loved that paid me a visit there.

  2. I get Bruce in when I can. Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your blog too.

  3. Peggy, this was a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Unfortunately the place I would like to be able to sit is a 4-hour drive from here. It also is beside a lake, but there is no comfortable bench there, only a lot of large rocks. I have always enjoyed sitting there, at the point, when I have had the chance - and that hasn't happened for quite a few years now. One time while sitting there I heard a rustling in the brush growing on the cliff close behind me. I turned slowly and saw a couple of chipmunks frolicking toward me. One suddenly jumped on my shoulder and ran down my arm. I sat holding my breath until it jumped off. It felt like a feather going down my arm. I wish someone had been there to take a picture. Another time I heard a lot of "squawking" around the huge rock right at the point. Soon I saw what was making the noise. A merganser duck swam around the rock with her brood of babies. As soon as she spied me, she turned and the babies followed. They were in such a hurry that they actually ran on top of the water. Another time I wished for a camera. Now I take my camera in my purse everywhere I go. But unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to go back there.

    The other place I love to go, and do get there several times during all but the winter months, is a public garden in a small town not far from here. I take countless photos of the gorgeous flowers, the Canada geese, and the lily ponds with frogs, turtles and fish. I use many these pictures on my blogs. Walking through there with no traffic sounds, only the chirping (or honking in the case of the geese) of birds and the wind in the trees, is indeed a most peaceful and satisfying time.

  4. Hi Diane ~ What a beautiful comment. I can just imagine those chipmunks and what a surprise when one jumped onto your shoulder. As anyone can tell who has read this blog, I love nature. Thank you for sharing your story. ~ Peggy

  5. Thanks for your comment on my blog! I look forward to following your blog! Heather @ It's All About Me.

  6. Love the poetic feel and images in this post . I live near a beach and also have a favorite bench that faces the ocean and cape may point lighthouse. Even if it is only for a few minutes, I make a point of stopping to gaze out over the jetty, smell the fishy salt air and breathe a prayer of gratitude every time I am there

  7. Carol ~ Cape May is such a beautiful ocean community. I'm sure you have many inspirational moments on that bench. Thanks for stopping by. ~ Peggy

  8. Hello Peggy, thanks so much for visiting and following my blog, I’ve also followed you. I really enjoyed reading about ‘your’ bench and wish I could spend some time there. I will be making time to come back and visit your blog, there is so much I want to read.

    1. Hi Barbara ~ Thanks for stopping by and following. There is so much out there to read - overwhelming. I'll visit you on your blog soon. ~ Peggy

  9. Dear Peggy Strack

    Hello, I am Amy Kwon Hee kim in Seoul, Korea. I'am not writer, yet and do not published my book, yet. But I am practicing and writing essays, fictions and poems and reading books everyday for becoming writor to publish my writings. I'm glad to meet you through likedin SNS. I feel and imagine your imagination in your bench. Because I, also, have felt one bench that tucks it away gift comforts, easements and times to reflecttion. So, as I felt it, in last year, I sent my community and friend new year's greeting and blessing e-mail that had background with picture of one bench placed in green forest. I wrote in that e-mail, "I hope you feel comports and rest in that bench in a while.". So, We are living far away, it is good for us to share feelings and thinkings about things and society issues to each other throgh blog. So, in neer future, I will come back to your blog and introduce to my blog after I will trancelate my essayettes to english version in my blog. And also I will stop by in your blog. Thank you for your reading my long comments. Have a great day!

    1. Hi Amy ~ I love your comment. It's true. We live far apart, but have had similar experiences. Do I dare say, "It's a small world." I wish you all the best with your writing. It certainly is a journey. Please let me know when your blog is ready and I'll stop by. ~ Peggy

  10. Hi Peggy,
    I really enjoyed your story and the wonderful pictures. Love them.
    I am following you now, as you follow me. thank you.
    have a wonderful day

  11. Hi Gigi ~ Thanks for the comment and the follow! ~ Peggy

  12. Peggy, I love that you finally accepted that old bench's invitation. You see what you've been missing? I loved the photos, your way of taking us with you. Thank you for that;)

  13. Hi Leah ~ Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you enjoyed the photos -- sort of like a blog postcard. ~ Peggy

  14. That bench looks soooooo inviting! I'm an incessant bench-sitter at parks, lookouts, and other places. The sound of ice melting--Wow! Very cool. I live on a small peninsula (unfortunately, polluted on two sides), and I spend as much time as I can walking along the (mostly polluted) beaches and shores...There's one cove that looks really good, where the water doesn't look as polluted; it's beautiful every morning when I see the sunrise. It's been cleaned up the last couple of years, and a bench put in...and I made it a point to sit on that bench, and remember the past. A giant wood-rotting barge used to sit out there when I was a kid...We've got to stop and smell the roses--or sit and gaze at the water.

  15. I agree, Steven. There really is something about sitting on a bench and gazing at a body of water--so reflective, almost hypnotizing. Although, you have to deal with some pollution, your beaches sound wonderful...Peggy

  16. Thank you very much Peggy for sharing these wonderful blogs with us! I enjoyed all of them I read so far!
    And I love the pictures too!!!
    Thanks a lot - I will sure come back!