Stillness and silence

Lately things seem overwhelming. Things around me seem to be happening at a feverish pace and there is the constant sound of a jet engine in my ears day and night. April seemed to drag on forever and then May hit and I can’t remember June or even July. Someone hit the fast forward button on me when I left the room to take a piss. I struggle to cram more into my schedule everyday and it somehow makes the time go by faster. Speeding up, out of control, no way to get off at the next stop and take a break from it. Moments of clarity sometimes break through and threaten to silence the chaos around me. I keep trying to discover these moments and grab a hold of them when they do appear.

Being on a mountain top and watching a rain cloud pass through the valley below me. Taking a minute to soak my hat in a stream, feeling time come to a crawl as the cold water freezes the nerve endings on the surface of my skin. I feel nothing but the cold relief and thoughts slip away…the noise lessons..the jet engines get shut off.

The dampness in the woods sat like a blanket over the trees. I watched as Heather disappeared way ahead of the group, I watched as Steve soon disappeared ahead on the trail. Katie and I stopped at an overlook and stared at the curve of the mountains before us. We just took the view in. No words are usually needed when confronted with the truth of our selves in this world. Alone, or not, we are so small. Up there, even with a breeze, the world around you seems frozen in time. A large painting that slowly changes if you stare long enough.

A lazy sunday afternoon in the summer. Morning spent watching the gold finches fight over the seeds. The chipmunk that stands below enjoying the fruit of the fight taking place above him. The absence of traffic and people, the sound of the cicada ushering in the heat of the afternoon. Placing the harness on the dog, you step outside to feel the warmth of the sun, the humidity hanging in the air. Invisible fog, heat radiating off of the front walkway. You walk down the road and you realize you are the only people around. Yards, green with thick grass and shade, stand empty. Toys left abandoned in the driveways and sandboxes. You wonder where people are. You don’t miss them. You are thankful for the silence. You hear nothing, it’s as if a switch was thrown, and you were granted peace and serenity for the rest of your day. I am thankful, thankful that the roar of the jet engine is silent for a few moments. I can almost imagine what the world was once like before we created this circus that we are all part of. Simpler times, simpler pleasures.

The soft landing of my feet on the forest floor, my breathing controlled and almost silent. It becomes a form of meditation. I can pick out the different smells of the forest and time slows, my mind quiets down, the feel of my pulse , the sound of my heart fills my head and I am brought into a moment of stillness, even while my body continues to move. I stare at the trees, the birds, the rocks. I can see the painting now that surrounds me and I enjoy the silence.

I’m starting to realize changes that need to be made, time to disconnect more. I’m in it too much now. The more time I spend out in the woods the more I realize how unbalanced things are. The news, the tv shows, the ugliness of everyday life.

I don’t need it.

I’ll be running more, hiking more, taking a book and sitting by a lake, enjoying silence and being still. Time is too short to be so caught up in the chaos of everyday life that you forget all of the good simple things that surround you.

I don’t want to wake up one day and wonder where all my time went. When I stare at the wrinkles that will eventually form I want them to tell the story of who I am, where I was, and what I did. I want the memories of the moments of silence and stillness to fill my head, my dreams. I don’t want to dwell on what could have been or what I should have done…

That is just the chaos speaking, and I want it silent.

Categories: hiking, Running | Leave a comment

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