I'm sitting in my very quiet home this afternoon and it suddenly struck me how quiet it was. When I first retired I didn't like a lot of quiet. By mid-morning I had usually turned on the tv, the radio or some music simply because I couldn't settle into the quiet. I'm used to having people around. When I was a teacher I was used to having a LOT of people around. My last three years of teaching were in a middle-school and trust me, there's not a lot of quiet! We have four children who somehow (?) over the last few years transformed into a group of twelve (lovely husbands and wife and lovely, lovely grandchildren). When they were all home for Christmas (Yahoo!) there was, almost literally, no quiet. Noise has never been a problem for me. It doesn't take getting used to. It just is. And I like it.
Quiet, on the other hand, did not settle in easily. At first it agitated me. After a while it was less noticeable but it was still there reminding me how alone I was for the first time in my life. Sometimes it seemed to taunt me and other times it seemed to be giving me a kick in the behind reminding me of all the things I was going to do once I had retired and had all of this quiet time on my hands. It's quiet, get up and DO something. This has been especially true during the gray days of winter when I am less tempted to avoid the quiet by getting on my bike or going for a walk. Less chance of that happening with the sideways wind and the buckets of rain that keep pouring out of the sky.
So this afternoon while I was working in my "studio" (don't you just love all the images that word conjures up? It's actually my basement that I call a "studio) I was a bit surprised to notice that it was quiet. Has been all day. No radio, no television, no music and I hadn't even noticed. I had done a bit of cleaning, a bit of cooking, a lot of reading, some knitting, some playing with my latest collage and a lot of thinking and I had done it all in the quiet. When did this happen, this comfort with the elephant in the room called 'quiet'?
Perhaps the seeds were planted when I began meditating a few minutes a day some months ago. Perhaps the many books and articles I've been reading about bringing peace to my life started it. I've always been much more comfortable with chaos than I have been with peacefulness so this is a deep shift for me. Perhaps I've just never had the opportunity to get to know quiet a little better.
What I do know is that I like it. I like the slow pace quiet brings to my life. I like reading a book without keeping my finger on the words so I know where I am when life interrupts. I like hearing my thoughts, never really happened before that I can recall. I like imagining all the things I can do with my day, even if I don't actually do them. I like the sound of my knitting needles against each other. Who knew they even made a sound? I like the beep of the oven when my blueberry applesauce loaf is ready even though it breaks the silence for just a moment.
Quiet and I are not ready to be bosom buddies or anything but our visits are getting longer and longer and more and more enjoyable. Quiet. I like it.