As I sit here surrounded by a shroud of silence, I come to relish it. There is something to love in the quiet peace at the end of the day. Looking out into the dark pool of night in the countryside. I have found that there are so many sounds of silence. I tend to welcome them often and I contemplate them even more.
I am one who can easily drive in solitude in my car each day. The silence around me filled with thoughts. Lists of things to do while looking back at yesterday. They fill my head. On a good day I can meander and drift into thoughts of hopes and dreams for a while. It is a good silence and keeps me moving forward. My mother used to ask me how I could be so quiet in the car. I would smile and tell her that I was thinking. She always thought aloud I guess. Not me. My best thoughts come in silence.
However, silence can also fill the space of anger. The quiet may taste bitter with its emotion held tightly in check. The silence all-knowing that hurtful words may have been spewed never to be forgotten, or sitting on the tongue ready to fall. A silence of reflection and needed quiescence. A silence to heed.
There is also the silence of breath held in anticipation waiting in expectation. You know it and I’m sure have heard it. When we watch competitions and just for a moment hold our hope in silence as if in a spell. Finally shattered by screams of fans in exaltation or despair. The extra point was good, the goal was made, the game won or lost. And the bit of silence is gone as quick as it showed up.
There is the silence shared between two people when our hearts are heavy and low. It comes with sorrow or sadness and grief. It is an important sound of silence. Just and strong, it stands on its own. But many people fear this interlude and try to fill it with words and babble. It is an important quiet peace and should be respected but not feared. When left alone it says so much more than words.
One of my favorite moments of silence is suffused with tenderness and love. It seems to suspend in time and feels fuller than the sea. The song of this silence may sing of honesty, understanding and unconditional love. Eyes meet, a gaze is shared, assured that love is pure and deep and will be forever. I can sit in this silence and watch the world drift by losing myself in its sweet fragrance. No requests and no expectations, just being in the moment with our souls.
Every morning I meet up with four busy little ladies. You know the kind, never able to sit still and a bit agitated at life in general and forever chattering. Well, I make the trek to see them when the world wakes up and it is first light outside. It is our daily routine. They greet me and dance around (as if they have yet to find the restroom -so to speak.) Anyway, I tell them all hello, not calling each by name as we have never exchanged names. We never found that to be important. Collectively I just call them “the little ladies.”
Just by observation, one would think that my ladies are all headed off on some big important sale the way they strut around every morning. Places to go and people to meet. Each step deliberate and accentuated with that head bob that they do so well. The little ladies watch me carefully as I enter their house. A bit nervous and prone to prancing about as they make sure I don’t dilly dally inside. However, I know that it is the scratch that is the all important free-bee of the day. At this point, the ladies are quite chatty as the scratch comes out. These women always have something to say. I nod back as if I understand the subject of their conversation. As we part ways, I tell them I will see them later and remind them of our bargain. I feed them scratch in the morning and someone leaves me an egg by night. I keep my end of the bargain but the ladies not quite so much. I then laugh as I remind myself that for the past few minutes I have been talking with chickens. I wonder if they find it all funny too. And oh lordy, what do the neighbors think.
Dear science I respect you greatly, testing your theories and determined to find out the truths in life. But I have one simple request.. One secret that I must hold distant from my mind. One denial that I must forever keep. So I ask you…
Don’t tell me the sky isn’t really blue. I can handle just about everything science has quantified …evolution, black holes, and even a dabbling of quantum physics. But don’t tell me the sky isn’t really blue. I grasp the threat of global warming and I understand time is a man-made concept. I understand some basic principles of space and atomic structure. But don’t tell me when I lie in the grass and gaze upon the deep blue sea above me that it is not really what I see. Watching the white wisps and cotton ball clouds silently drift as they are brushed by the wind – to then discover that beautiful blue peeking through teasing me. Don’t tell me the sky isn’t really blue.
Don’t tell me the sky isn’t really blue. I understand that life is hard and unfair. I realize that I make my own choices and participate in my own destiny. I know that there is a time for all seasons and change is good. I realize that there is good and bad in the world yet not every thing is black and white. But please, don’t tell me the sky isn’t really blue.
I need the sky to be blue. Blue is my favorite color and gives me peace. It is a rich blanket that comforts and assures me like an old friend. A sky of blue gives me reassurance that the day will be filled with sunshine and warm to my skin. So again I plead, don’t tell me the sky isn’t really blue.
I want the sky to be blue. Blue is full of imagination and hope. It calms the heart and steadies the soul. Blue is the perfect color for the sky above me. The blue sky is living beauty in a sometimes dark and stressful world. It taunts me to reach out and touch it full knowing that I can’t. It teaches me to reach for my dreams no matter how far away they seem. And let’s not forget, it is that amazing blue sky that creates the breathtaking sunsets. Don’t tell me the sky isn’t really blue. I just plain refuse to believe it.
(author’s note: a scientist Lord Rayleigh discovered that the reason we see the sky as blue is because of the particular gasses in our atmosphere and the way blue light rays are dispersed when exposed to sun radiation. In other words, the other colors of light travel through and the short wave length of blue is reflected. I claim ignorance of this fact.)
The joy in the journey is a reflection of the trip you take. It is the rocky road, the stormy winds and the sunshine in your face. How boring would the trip be if the scenery did not change. If you try to seek some joy in the everyday then you will find the traveling a bit smoother. No one knows your journey but you. No one knows the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet that you have tasted along the way. But sweet without bitter would not taste as sweet. For what could we compare it to?
Yet I would be remiss if I did not give support to those who travel down very rough paths in life. I have met many in my own journey. Colorful words and blissful thought are wonderful but not reality for all. Many struggles are hard fought battles in the darkness. Feeling alone and unworthy of better choices. Feeling they have no chance to change lanes. Rest stops few and far between. Watching these travelers can make us feel uncomfortable, uneasy and may not be pleasant. But if you lend a hand, an ear or at least a smile…just possibly you will give them a glimmer of hope.
I end my ramblings here with a nod to those who have felt much heartache during their trek. Some have battled difficult illnesses while others have lost loved ones-many too early along their travels. Their journey may be filled with bittersweet moments that tug at the heart with a heaviness almost too hard to bear. Yet they keep on the road. They are warriors among us. They remind us all that every day must carry it’s own joy, you must try to seek it without waiting for your tomorrows to bring it to you. You must find the joy within your journey and not wait for it at your destination.
My yesterday memories include bike riding with my friends. I had a beautiful blue-green bike with a white wicker basket. My bike became my pony as we galloped around the neighborhood. Not long ago I bought a new bike. I do not gallop anymore…and I have noticed hills have sprung up everywhere. From bike riding I remember getting a little older and riding around in our cars. Guess this was my first introduction to the adult sitting syndrome. Oh the days of cruising. During these yesterdays of my life I recall groups of us in various cars with CB radios and our radio handles. Mine was “blue eyes.” Makes me laugh to think about how we used CB’s . They were our technology of the times- our link to each other, our face book and email of the day. And you didn’t cruise without a dollar in your pocket- for gas.
My college years seemed to blend together. There were so many life choices to make and it was stressful. Drugs were available everywhere and I just was not comfortable with giving up control of my brain to pills. I survived and I married and had children. As a young mother I began to look forward to my tomorrows too much and less of my yesterdays. Now my kids have grown and here I am. Pondering about all of those days that I could not wait to end in darkness and slumber. (Young working mothers know that sleep is the only escape and I strived to get there successfully at the end of the day.)
I have had many twists and turns during my yesterdays. But I have learned from them. I no longer am afraid of the bends as I approach them. I have remarried and he is my best friend. Someone that I used to pass in my neighborhood of long ago yesterdays of my childhood. We laugh about growing up so close to each other yet only discovering “us” some eleven years ago.
Which brings me up to the proper yesterday, recent past by definition. Filled with promise, hope and sweat. Illnesses, injuries have sought us out and death as well. And I cling to my most recent yesterdays knowing that I never know when they too shall become fond memories of my past. I relish them as I do my time simply sitting. I have learned that this adult behavior is not lazy at all. It is simply sublime as it give me pause to recall my yesterdays.
I have two friends that I miss dearly. They were very different from each other as their personalities and responsibilities dictated. But I loved them both deeply. One was a handsome blonde who lived with me for 12 years and the other a beautiful white haired giant that only shared my time for 5 years. But even though they came at different times in my life, they both gave me so much. Like they knew what I needed from them and provided such for me unselfishly.
Our Pal Eisenhower- affectionately called Ike was a gorgeous and rather lanky yellow lab. He joined us as a puppy and if you ever had a lab puppy you know what that means- books, tv remotes, shoes, socks and actually just about anything his teeth could dig into bore his mark and became his. Yet he grew up to be an absolutely wonderful pal. For years he shared my bed until he took up almost the whole queen mattress. I would actually hear him head upstairs to claim his space, silently slipping away before me. Somewhere along the road we came to an agreement and he began to sleep in his own bed next to mine. We have walked many miles through our home town and he was always a well behaved gentleman, content just to be with me. Ike was my house mate and while I was busy keeping myself busy with some remodeling or decorating, he would lie down nearby (usually on my drop cloths) and observe this crazy lady. We also had many conversations about life, kids, and learning to love yourself for who you are- to name a few. I think he agreed with me on every topic because he never stated differently. But as we both got older, life for Ike got harder too. I had to put Ike to sleep 3 years ago. I held him as his big eyes looked back at me and we both knew it was time for him to go. He was in pain and his days were not what they were meant to be. So I hugged him and thanked my friend for being just what he needed to be for me. He seemed to know I would be ok as I had met my future husband and I was very happy with my life. His job was done.
Leo- a lion of a guy, actually resembled a polar bear when he first came to our farm. He joined us as a great pyrenees puppy. Yet from early on, Leo was on duty. He came to protect our animals from coyotes and took his job seriously. He did not live in our home but in the barn. Leo had the run of the pastures and at night he roamed the fence lines. You could hear his roar to tell the creatures of the night that he was king. Such a gentle giant, Leo was filled with patience for children and he loved visitors and welcomed many. Leo never tried to leave the barn area…that would be irresponsible. Our conversations shared were of new babies as we watched them born ( and sometimes assisted), or the chickens ( those ladies were pesky), or maybe both of us just sitting on a hill in the pastures watching the others graze and enjoying the breeze. He would slowly roll over and ask for a belly rub. Just about the only thing he ever asked for. Leo became lame quickly and out of the blue this vibrant, beautiful boy could hardly walk. I knew what had to be done, but my work schedule was so crazy I could not take off time. I could not wait and asked my husband to call the vet. So I was not there to tell him thank you and hold him while the pain left and he drifted off. We said our goodbyes early that morning before I went to work. So fitting, he taught me that I had to take my job seriously.
I miss them both. They were so different yet gave me so much at just the right times in my life. And they both taught me to enjoy the present. Take time to relax and watch the world…and to love the wind in my face.