In The Quiet Places
Some days I just sit and think when I should be working. I don’t even really pay close attention to what runs through my mind at these times; I just let the thoughts come and go as they will. Every so often a phrase will run through my head and find a place to nestle down so I can look at it a bit later. Most of the time, though, I find myself thinking about nothing in particular. I’m just being.
When I was in the 4th grade, my mom and stepdad moved us from the city to the country. I was devastated. I was not shy then, or at least not overly so. I had been in the elementary school I was attending for a couple of years, and I had made friends and was fitting in. I wasn’t shy at that school. For a long time I wanted nothing more than to go back there. I felt out of place at the ‘country’ school. The kids there had almost all grown up with each other, and I knew no one. But most were nice, and it wasn’t too long before I had made a few new friends.
Something else that I had to get used to was the silence. It was too quiet for me. I had lived in the city for most of my life at that point. Moving to the country was a huge difference. We lived on a two-acre property, and we had a horse and sheep and various other farm animals. It was not something I was used to at that point. My dad’s family were farmers and cowboys, but by this time I was only seeing them one month out of a year. And then my mom’s family had a small farm. You’d think I’d be used to it. But from the time my mom was awarded custody of me until my 4th grade year, we lived in the city, and visited the farms. So, getting used to the silence took a little time.
Eventually, the quiet of the country became a balm. It was peaceful. I came to love the smell of rain in the air, and to tell when it would rain. My favorite thing came to be going to the back of our property where we had this big round table set up, and sitting on it. The sheep and the one horse would graze, and when the sun was shining on spring, summer, or autumn days, I’d sit in the middle of the table, close my eyes, feel the breeze on my skin, and just be. I didn’t have to please anyone. I didn’t have to be anyone’s perfect daughter, anyone’s big sister, anyone’s step-anything. I was just me. That’s where I dreamed of being a singer because I loved to sing. It’s where I dreamed of being a good person because I wanted more than anything to be a good person, and to be loved for that. It’s where I dreamed of finding someone who would love me for me, unconditionally and intensely, as I knew I’d love them. So far none of those dreams have come true except I’m still working on being a good person, but that’s an on-going project that will only show it’s results after I’ve left this life and gone beyond it. That’s the one dream I’m still hoping will come true. The first one, eh. I sing for me and my kids. I’m happy with that. And, relationships…well, there’s always hope for that dream, too, though maybe not the way I wanted in the beginning. I know there’s a better dream out there for me. It just may not be the one I’m expecting, at least, I hope it’s not.
So, I came to love those quiet moments alone. That was my church. That was where I felt my spirit touch heaven. I was so alive in that place. I could feel the earth moving beneath me, and the sun moving above me. It was the only place for a very long time where I felt happy. But, I grew up, life moved on, and I moved back to the city and have been here ever since. The irony of it was that when I moved back to the city, I could barely breathe. My soul felt like a caged wild bird, and I thought I’d never get used to the noise. Isn’t it interesting how that works?
Now, I find my quiet moments at night after my kids are asleep and it’s just me, a cat or two, and the dark. It’s not the same, and can never be, but it’s something. Recently, though, I’m finding myself going back to getting up and watching the sun rise. (I’m still on someone else’s schedule-I’ve gotten used to it sadly.) As I think I’ve said before, I used to do this when I lived in the country. I was an early riser, and that was my favorite time of day. I still love watching the sun come up, and I still love seeing my mistakes from the day before wiped clean so I can try again. It’s still a time where I can just be.
Find your place to be.