quiet

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I seek refuge in the quiet.
I know that’s not easy to do these days.
I also know that it’s a luxury.

Outside of the window, as I write, is a wind blowing through the bare branches of the Natchez Trace. I remember when I first moved home, I would sleep with this window open. In the early morning I would awake to see deer and other early morning creatures ruffling around the fallen pine straw.

I thought of it as a gift.

Lately, this has been a theme. This morning I woke up and read an article about a Native American who spoke about his ancestors and their relationship to silence and space. How before they would speak, they would be silent as if not to waste any words on another’s behalf. When there was a loss of a presence or when there was conflict, a time of silence was taken. Not because there was a loss of something to say, but as a space to honor the other person, and yourself.

They would do the same while being in the wild — though they didn’t call it wild. They called it nature. Or at least their word for it. It was a harmony of sorts. When it became too cold, they would not get angry, but adapt to nature. They understood that it was a force they couldn’t change, and decided to move forward with the season, rather than revolt and create noise.

I think it is okay to feel overwhelmed with all the noise and distraction. Sometimes I assume I live a different lifestyle where I need a quiet space to reconnect, while others can move with all the noise so much easier. I realize kids have a lot to do with this, so I speak only on my particular plain.

But it is in the quiet that the world gets softer. My world calms and I am able to connect better with you.

WPOTWQuietReflections

I read Christopher Kimball’s piece in this month’s Cook’s Illustrated about people living off the grid and being alone. I am aware of the differences of being lonely and being alone. He spoke about being content where you are. Whether a still pond deep in a wood, or with a cutting board at your waste, diving into a recipe.

I am okay with being alone. Very seldom do I actually feel lonely. I know loneliness is our greatest poverty here. Even with all the noise and distractions, this world, especially now, can be a very lonely place.

Over the years I’ve collected and dropped things. I’ve created a tiny life and I also gave it all away. I’ve seen heaven and I’ve felt a depth of hell with the pain of losing a person. Sometimes, the quiet has been my undoing. It is, like we always say, about balance.

So in this season, I am working hard to carve out a space for myself. I feel my world moving quickly, and I want to live in the quiet, as well as the noise. But also, I want to recognize my neighbor or the person working beside me. They deserve me as my best.

While they may question my intentional need for simplicity, and my unusual quiet and gentleness — I do it for me and I do it for them.

Because this space is sacred, as are my bones that resonate in this gift of a world.

And you?

you might as well be the face of God.

Wy’East

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I’ve had a seriously terrible week.

Well, my weeks are not your average Monday-Friday. I live in that different world where people rejoice that it’s Friday and I shake in my boots hoping they’ll go easy on me for the weekend — hoping I won’t get in over my head or in the weeds. Whatever form of expression, I think you get it.

I decided earlier on that I wanted to get out of Portland for a night, on my weekend. Which these days, is Tuesday and Wednesday. I like it. I can get a lot of done. Everyone else is at their 9-5 and I’m straight up in the movie theater all by myself. Some of the perks. At least for me.

But I got real sick this week. A mixture of stress and not really taking care of myself in these past few weeks of tough transition.

– – – – –

I knew it would be warm, so at first I had my mind set on the coast. Generally about 15-20 degrees cooler at any given time. But the hotels were too expensive. Then I thought about Mt. Hood. About an hour’s drive from Portland. The idea of some good clean air made me excited. Maybe even to crash and eat chips and watch TV. (Which was fun…for like an hour, then I realized how draining TV can be.)

So I went for a hike around Trillium Lake. Well, it was more of a walk. But that’s okay.

I saw a lot of squirrels. Some mushrooms. I had to dodge obnoxious campers who made it their goal to frighten as many ducks as they could. I thought of the Michael Scott quote from The Office, “Why are you…the way that you are…?”

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I did some research on the Great Mountain before I left. Because I’m the type of person who likes to know this sort of stuff. The history of land anywhere these days can be controversial. Mostly because it was never ‘ours’. Any time you walk on some historic site named after a sickly white General from the 18th century, you should seriously take a moment to think about the human beings who used to walk these woods before your great-great-great-great grandparents were immigrants themselves.

To sort of stray away from using the term “Native American”, I will say First Nation people. Basically the people who were here first and were either pushed into Mexico or given Reservations to live on.

It is all sacred ground to me.

Wy’East is what First Nation people called the big mountain. Then an army came in the 1700’s and did their thing, and well, you can google the rest.

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But what I love, is looking at the geography from high, high up of the mountain. As though the gods took smooth Earth and pinched it up. The wrinkles slowly forming a peak. Really, a beautiful, beautiful thing.

More importantly, it makes me feel small. Which is good. Because I am.

I find restoration in nature, even though I’m not in it all that much.

In walking some trails, I feel so confident going forward. There is a path. I can see up ahead.

And then sometimes, coming back, I take a different way.

It looks different, all of a sudden. The trees curve other ways. I second guess myself. I start to feel anxious.

But I know better. And I know that I am okay.

Sometimes, when the path isn’t as clear, you have to dig deep and get yourself back on track. Trust that intuition. It’s been given to you for a reason.

And while I’m poking around a big metaphor, I really just want to say how strong I feel sometimes. How much this mountain just stands here and takes it. Deep down, something churning. Dormant, but powerful. Having no need to express how fierce it actually is.

I sit and take it all in.

This sacred land – like Moses with his shoes off thinking, “This is all too much!”

Maybe it is.

And sometimes all you can do, is take off your shoes,

and dig in.