“I hear you flunked your logic exam,” my brother was teasing me at our family Thanksgiving table after midterms one year.
I was astonished that he had any idea of what had been my most recent humbling experience in academia since he attended a university three provinces away from the place I was studying.
But it turns out a friend of his had been sitting next to me during the exam and actually attempted to let me cheat off of his paper when he noticed how poorly I was faring.
After the debacle that was my score on the midterm, (32 per cent,) I had to get very busy to achieve a 98 per cent grade in the final exam to pass the course.
I spent every waking moment in the library. Chasing the philosophy professor around, I asked him about the potential questions and problems on the deciding exam.
My persistence paid off. I will never know if it was mostly my stick-to-it attitude or an actual success in deepening my understanding of logic, but some combination of the two resulted in my passing the course.
Ever since that focused effort, I have enjoyed a relaxed attitude to the rigors of reasoning and sometimes. I smile when I think about the kinds of connections and associations I made in practicing the principles that were being taught.
Here in Pictou, I have often mused on things logical and illogical alone on my walks, but the best way to have a sound and valid argument is with the help of a fellow thinker. Sometimes, I run an argument I’m constructing by a friend and other times I seem to encounter just the right new acquaintance to resolve the issue with me.
This happened on a recent stroll in our slowly and gently emerging spring when a chilly winter current was still keeping my pace fast and my thoughts slow.
As I ambled along the river in New Glasgow I was thinking about how busy people boast about being today.
More and more the answer I have been hearing to “how are you?” is “busy, I’m very busy.”
As I pondered this, I noticed a woman wearing a very stylish sweater standing on the trail in front of me. She was peering into her palm at a device. When I said hello and complimented her outfit, she looked up with a sunny smile and asked me for directions. Her destination was nearby so I offered to accompany her.
We introduced ourselves and discovered we had things in common. Amelia is a yoga instructor hiding out as a flight attendant. She had taken her layover in Halifax to visit our fair town and area for some quiet and restoration.
I was enthusiastic about the peace I find here in Pictou and then in a very non logic way I began to complain about how “busy” the world is.
Amelia didn’t miss a beat. “Saying you’re “busy” is the new “sexy”. She proclaimed and smiled. I think she is right and I couldn’t stop thinking about this long after we had reached her destination. I continued my wondering on the shores of Big Island- still frozen in the embrace of winter’s grasping icebergs and hard sand. My own antidote or antithesis to the poison and much-touted thesis of being busy is to be less and less busy; to do fewer things well in more time.
Then, as I stood for a moment looking at the splendor that is our seashore, I had a moment of intuitive logic. I exclaimed to a passing seagull “if busy is the new sexy, then I don’t need to be busy because I am sexy enough.”
This kept me smiling as I thought about all the sexy people and places this form of reasoning creates in Pictou county; friends, neighbors, town centers and the gentle pace of all of these non- busy spots and souls, keeps me calm and connected to the art of staying that way.
Even a little crocus poised on my lawn brimmed with the allure I had newly deduced. I got down and dirty with the little reaching bud and lying on the ground to appreciate the eager bloom’s perspective, I snapped a photo that will be my centerfold for the month of May.
Perhaps it is sexy to be serene. I am 98 per cent sure that this is so.
As for the other two percent, well that busy little amount is just enough to keep me engaged in the world that swirls outside our appealing refuge.
According to my logic, Pictou County is one of the sexiest places on earth. The art of being sexy is daily refined and perfected in our quiet spaces and relaxed routes. Now let’s have some hot weather!
- Eliza Fernbach is a filmmaker and Vice President of the Visual Arts Nova Scotia Executive Committee.