And Wearing Grace like a Sheath
I remember when I needed noise. Lots of it. Noise was my Ritalin, the stimulant that helped me focus. In college, the second time around when I actually cared about studying, I’d spread all my bits out on the floor around me with the TV on in front of me, the radio on around me, and, on occasion, the telephone held to one ear while all that was going on. In the midst of all that I did some of my best writing and remembering of the then-important stuff.
Today, I’m in Northern New Mexico and needed the quiet. Not just quiet but quuuiiiieeeetttt. There has been a gentle windless snow all day and I wanted to be in the quiet stillness it brings like a quilt. The flies battering themselves in the windows made me batty. The tones in my ears that are reflections of energies not yet interpreted were incessant, like children ignoring a parent’s attempt at napping and then discovering that pots make good drums.
Yesterday’s born-jarring and teeth-shattering dirt road driving in a vehicle not made for such things made everything in and around me shake with its own noise, even after a night’s sleep. I was so grateful that I didn’t actually have to speak today. I couldn’t get still and couldn’t find the quiet. Don’t give me that ‘go to that quiet place within yourself’ on a day like today. That’s not what I’m talkin’ about. I’m talking the stuff of a librarian’s dream.
It’s an interesting place to observe oneself from. I wonder what it would like like from a film maker’s perspective. You know the kind who can take the most simple of ideas and make it eerily unlife-like in the realness of it all? Like how much noise our breathing makes (especially when there are all the things associated with a head full of snot). Or how we sometimes walk as loudly as Leadfoot Larry (you know the type, always directly above you in a hotel?). Or how the clip of a fingernail can actually reverberate as it bounces off a window pane?
I could have meditated it away, couldn’t I? Find that Zen place where I became one with the hiss and buzz.
I thought, though, I’ll just go play in the snow.
Those who know me know that I detest being cold. Hate. It. But today, I walked out into the snow. In a pair of boots. And nothing else. And stood there while the evening snow fell onto me as I yearned for silence. The light around me changed to light surrounding me, emanating from me, bathing me. The near dusk turned into that otherly lightness that sometimes pours from me like I’m the sun and moon and stars and the fire of every being. And I sank into it and into the snow. Know what I learned?
Snow isn’t necessarily quiet.
And neither is grace.
Oh, and sometimes I don’t need my snowpants to be warm.