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The Gift of Quiet
Last Sunday our granddaughter face timed us from Oklahoma. After sharing the excitement of her day, four-year-old Hazel said, “It’s almost night time at your house, Grandma!” I was puzzled. “No, sweetheart, it is daytime here just like it in Oklahoma,” I replied.
“But, I hear the night!” she responded. Listening closely, I realized that Hazel associated the rasping of cicadas, and the chirping of crickets as nighttime sounds. Her day had to draw to a quiet close before she heard the crickets and cicada’s songs. “I, too, need to pay attention to the moment,” I thought. That thought was affirmed when I read a book entitled, The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith. The book promised to help its readers draw closer to God. I was a bit surprised at the book’s first two exercises. Exercise number one was get plenty of rest. This was not what I expected, yet, I had to agree, that without rest my senses were dulled. The second exercise was to take five minutes each day to sit quietly absorbing the moment. This sounded a bit New Age, or Old Hippie, still, it was worth a try.
My husband, Chester, has this quiet thing down. Chester has that relaxed assurance that there is always time in the day to do whatever the day requires. No bustle is ever required. I, on the other hand, tend toward the frenetic bee lifestyle. Keep moving, even if, or especially if, you don’t have a plan. Last Wednesday morning was a perfect example of this. I bustled to the garage to get a rake. As I passed the garage door, there sat Chester in a lawn chair, quietly observing the world. Noting Chester’s calm demeanor, I was reminded of the book’s suggestion to take 5 minutes to sit quietly. “I am missing out on the beauty of this moment to move leaves from one side of the yard to the other!” I scolded myself.
I stopped right then and began my 10 minutes (note my over-achiever mindset.) to just sit on the patio and absorb the day. The sun shone warmly on my face. The purple pantaloons on my hosta waltzed with the wind. Clouds piled thick and white like a lumpy comforter in the pale blue sky. One lone bird rehearsed a series of figure eights, serenely gliding like a skater on crystal blue ice. Our black and white paint, Shadow, peeked over the fence, and bobbed his head as if to say, “Welcome to today.” Then, he shook his mane and trotted around the lot, relaxed and free.
Shadow’s tail swished back and forth, providing the comforting combination of fly swatter and fan. Cicadas sang their familiar chorus. Crickets tapped their toes adding a staccato beat to the rhythm of the cicada’s song.
A fat little bumblebee buzzed in and around the roses, pausing now and then to take a sip of sweet nectar. Papa grasshopper stretched his accordion legs to creep silently up the stem of a tall blade of grass prior to leaping into the hidden jungle of cool grass. Across the driveway, Max, my sleek gray cat strolled proudly to the lawn chair. Hopping up, he sprawled across the chair, preparing for a snooze in the sun. All nature was enjoying the moment. None felt a need to perform, or to accomplish. Nor did I. I was opening the gift of today. I had indeed started to appreciate “the present.”
Contributed by Carolyn Primm