Monday, January 2, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about quiet lately.  I admire a quality in Grey that I wish I had and that's his ability to rest effectively. I wake up in the morning with sixty things on my mind. I want to write and have a list of tasks to accomplish.  The first task is to make a mental list of the things I need to do.  Then I prioritize them and begin worrying about what I will and will not get done that day.  Thirty seconds later I am out of bed and  making coffee. He seems to wake up and open his eyes.  Then he says "Good morning". Sometimes he even goes back to sleep (of all things!).  

Sometimes at night I can't sleep, for all of the things I need to do, the things I haven't done and the endless stream of humanity I have yet to help flow along. I need to grade a set of papers, go running, buy more healthy food, stop drinking so much coffee (I say as I pause to take a sip of the steaming liquid) and somehow find and apply for professorships.  The consequences of not doing so many things seems grave.  Students won't get timely feedback and their next papers will suck.  If I don't find a better job I am going to keep getting bronchitis from all of the things floating in the air at my current job.  If I don't do a better job of planning curriculum, my kids aren't going to pass their CRT's.  If I don't do the layout of the newsletter, nobody will feel connected to each other at work.  Etcetera, etcetera and so on and so forth until I worry about becoming unemployed.  Then things really take off.

If I'm unemployed, I could lose my house and if that happens, I won't have any friends left.  I don't know how those two things work; they just do in my tornado brain.  If I am jobless, homeless and friendless, then I will end up living out of a shopping cart with my little old Eleanor in the child seat and a machete. And for some inexplicable reason in this particular nightmare fantasy, I am also wearing pink crocs.  You can't hack at someone with a machete and run away in pink crocs.  It just wouldn't make sense.

I remember living six miles out in the country, away from our small town of 3,500 people. Our nearest neighbors were in the next gulch. We had a phone but no television reception. I loved the quiet. I read and painted and explored the out of doors. I had a 35# recurve bow that I got pretty good at shooting.  I slept in some mornings and worked very hard but seemed to have time for the things I needed and wanted to do. Not much company out there, save the elk and deer and rattlesnakes.  But plenty of time to think while uninterrupted.

Like I said, sometimes I need to just do nothing.  It's not that I'm lazy or depressed even, just busy as all get out and in desperate need of a break.  For the past, oh I don't know, maybe ten years, I have rushed from job to after-job-job, to school to home to fitness to animal care to homework and finally to bed.  I don't think I've put enough of my energy into taking time to develop relationships, to calm the inner beast or to just sit still and rest. I used to visit my grandparents twice a year.  In their home there was no wifi and few distractions.  My favorite times were those when my grandma and I would visit with one another and talk over coffee.  But it always seemed to be outside of my regular life.  And I aim to change that about myself.

Last night, Grey and I went to Hastings.  He took some time to explore the store- Tulsa doesn't have a Hastings anymore and I think he greeted this one like an old friend.  I went to the coffee shop and ordered a tea, sat and read a book for almost two hours. They have a fireplace there and I set up camp not across but directly beside it.  I caught myself smiling, engrossed in the adventures of Anne Shirley, and occasionally was distracted only by the visage of the man himself checking in on me.  It was lovely and quiet. And when we got home, we made salad and talked, then read some more with some chamomile tea and Eleanor tucked between us on the sofa.

I have things to do.  School will start again on Wednesday. But I'm going to start unplugging at home more often. Probably I will turn off my phone on weekends except to make phone calls and maybe I will even restrict internet access on weekends too.  I ought to have time now to manage my work life during the week.  No more grad school for me- I've learned my lessons. And now it's time to learn once again about quiet.

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