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Making time for literature, art, philosophy, nature

By Ed Dawkins
As easterners and graduates of a small eastern college, my wife and I were inspired to search out a small college town, similar to ours in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
My love of the western United States caused us to search the Sacramento area and find Davis, California — a then-town of population 12,000 (1964).
It was a good decision to become Davis’ first orthopedic surgeon and later a resident of small-town Winters.
One of my first vacations was a two-week trip to Mexico with the Sierra Club. I was very busy getting things caught up before I left.
On returning, I noticed that I had done almost as much business in the two weeks preceding the trip as I normally did in a month.
I had an inspired idea, one that was helped by my college music teacher Professor William Phillips’ remembered admonition, “Don’t be bound by the shackles of security.”
This idea led to a decision to take off one week every month thereafter, beginning a lifelong habit of doing my professional work only three quarters of the time.
My idea was not only inspired, but sensational — and it worked! I originally pictured it as a money-limiting key to a fuller life, so I was shocked when I discovered that it was more than that.
I found that I could see more patients, do more productive work and make more money working hard for three weeks than burning out at the same pace over four weeks.
Also, it allowed me time for thinking, time for enjoying, time for my family, time for travel, time for making the right investment decisions and time to be further inspired.
This extra time allowed me to delve into literature, art and philosophy, as well as my own spiritual nature. I loved to bathe in the thoughts and writings of past great minds.
A subject that also
inspired me was the relationship between truth and beauty, which led to an award-winning poem by the same name. I have talked about this in a previous column.
I also had quality time for philosophical musing and poetic perceptions of my family and work and friends. I had time, with my wife, to find and acquire our magical land in the Putah-savanna foothills near Winters, which we call “Savanna Hills.”
The person who sold us our 40 acres was the noted Winters philanthropist, Margaret Parsons. She had her modest home adjacent to us and taught us, by
example, the fine points
of ethically appreciating our role as stewards of the land – a land of wildness and fertility with its birds, deer, rabbits, snakes, lizards, water and trees — the embodiment of my
boyhood dreams.
Retired, I now find time to reminisce and write about my younger days - in school and college and beyond.
I fondly think of my various inspiring mentors and what great human beings they were. Then my heart swells with loving memories of special long-ago friends, who shared such fun-filled yesterdays – all with separate inspirations and aspirations.
I think of their substance and their beauty. But where are they now? And what are they now? So many of them are only memories. Softened with both pleasure and pain I feel that I must respond poetically to my musings.
These friends were once so important in a long-gone but not-forgotten part of my life and my wife’s life. So many old old friends have simply disappeared.
Laughing together – long, long ago,
our journeys proceeding… to their separate ends.
These I will never, never know,
as time has hidden forever… my dear friends.