I’m sitting on Kyle’s parents’ porch by the lake. It’s incredibly peaceful, and very, very still.
Off in the very far distance there’s the rushing of cars, the rumble of a lawn mower, but it’s practically white noise, and easy to tun out. Right here, in this little world I’m sitting in, there’s bird calls chasing each other through the octaves, and the continuous electric hum of the cicadas. The lake is almost perfectly still, only a slight ruffle in some places, while in others its smooth surface offers a wobbly picture of what’s on the other side. It’s as if I and the world hold our breath for fear that a whisper will destroy this crystalline moment of peacefulness.
Last week the world did not hold its breath with me.
Last week the world thundered and roared around me, while I tried desperately to catch my breath. Worry howled in my ear, while anxiety held me with its merciless grip and shook me. Wave after wave of exhaustion washed over me, fought back only momentarily by snatches of sleep and as much caffeine as I could empty into my body. Wailing behind it all was the regret over all the ways that I could have, should have, wished that I were spending my time, always moaning in my ear.
There was also stillness. Oh, yes, there was. In the moments when I tried to escape the crashing and shrieking and find a place of quiet and stillness inside of myself. But there were no darting hummingbirds there, no fluttering water, no quiet breeze dancing effortlessly with the trees. There was only blackness and hopelessness that pressed in on my chest until I couldn’t breath. A single tear that fell on paper and blurred the frantically scribbled fragments of worry. Even there in the blackness, the muffled howl of my worry and anxiety harmonized with the hopelessness below, until I had to escape to the crash and fury above.
But not today.
Today there is no rush, there is no anxiety, there is no angst. The only worry belongs to the cat, who is stalking a squirrel. There is only easy, lovely stillness that settles over me like a cool sheet on a hot summer night. I want to capture this moment before I breath out, to etch every detail of this perfect quiet on the walls of my mind. So that maybe next time the storm comes I’ll have a place where I can go.
A place where I can close my eyes, hold my breath, and just be still.