I experience much more in the quiet than I do in the loud places. Silence is actually filled with more sound than you think. Even deep in the woods as I sit at the butt of a tree trunk, there is no such thing as true and complete quiet. The forest floor is buzzing with activity, the wood of the tree at my back is humming with life, the sky above dotted by birds and broken by planes, the air all around me full of the echoes of the cars and people beyond the shelter of the branches. My tranquility is artificial. I’m tricking myself to believe I can escape from the business of being human. I like to think I can divorce the rat race and walk a Hermit’s path, that the world is beyond me and I’ve moved away from the need for company. I’ve grown accustomed to being alone so much, my solitude has become a security blanket. I cling to my isolation even when happy, crazy events stir up distress in me. My comfortable, simple life cannot always be quiet. No matter how hard I make it that way, it’s not meant to last. I have to succumb to being human, letting myself be embraced and touched, and as soon as I quickly get used to that exhausting, dizzying, laughing roller coaster ride of an experience, it is gone as suddenly as the guests had arrived. Quietude can come back as an explosion. After the silly storm of friends and family coming home to make a mess out of the areas I had meticulously cleaned in preparation for their arrival, the place is immediately silent. Yet it is a different kind of quiet after they are gone.
My home has been revitalized by the uproar of their presence. They have left this place as quiet as it was before, but now home feels as if it has been filled and used. This place has not just contained myself and my cat anymore. It has served a purpose other than being a hiding place. It has become a living space once more. I can sink into bed and really relax into the quiet; a quiet that is not silent but glorious! Filled to capacity with the pleasant phantasms of my loved ones, the walls splattered with the echoes of their voices, and the furniture saturated by their love.
Before anyone comes to visit, I make sure my home is the place where anyone, no matter what state (even when it’s messy) it’s in, would not only find comfort away from their home, but also be surrounded by everything that is “me” — this is why I love it when I have a guest every now and then — to let them step inside my world and escape theirs for awhile. That’s how I feel whenever I visit other people; I feel like I am entering their world and leaving my own, I sense memories and emotions in the walls and furniture, it is almost like trying on someone else’s clothes, but more like slipping on their personality. A visit can be an uncomfortable experience depending upon the personality. I often wonder and worry how other people feel when they step inside my world. Is it too quiet? Is it too boring? Is it too over saturated with spirits?
Today what I know is this: I am left alone today soaking in the glorious quietude at home knowing that I won’t experience this everyday, so I best experience it as much as I can before my mood slips and slides into darker, or lighter, episodes. Today we are even keel.
Today at home, if you were here with me right now, we’d share some lemon mint tea and read our fortunes in the branches of the naked trees outside my window. Since you are not here, I saved you the effort of coming all the way out here for a visit and brought the trees to you in a photograph. The branches were extra talkative this morning, especially so after my guests left.
What do you see coming soon?