Otia corpus alunt; animus quoque pascitur illis
(Ovid, Epistulae Ex Ponto 1.4.21)

(pron = oh-tee-ah kor-poos ah-loont; ah-nih-moos kwoh-kway pah-skih-toor

Times at leisure nourish the body; the mind as well is fed by them.

Comment: Poets like Ovid found this theme of leisure to be a favorite one. And
for them, leisure was often associated with the country and country life as
opposed to life in “the city”. He has even used a verb, pascitur, which is
often used of the flock, grazing on the field, to describe how leisure times
“feed the mind”.

Those distinctions and the desire to “get away” have not changed much for busy,
modern western human beings. Several years ago, I participated in a 12 week
course using a book called The Artist’s Way. During that time, we were asked
to make a weekly “artist’s date” with ourselves. We did not ever have to spend
money on this date, but we were required to do something that nourished
creativity: take a walk in the park or woods, visit a museum, listen to some
beautiful music, go to a movie, read a book just for the joy of it, etc. The
only requirement was that this time be observed, and it be purely for the joy
of the thing we were doing.

Ovid’s words beg the question: how long since we enjoyed some leisure, since we
fed our bodies and minds?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)

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