Early last week I was walking the dogs about ten in the morning. You can do that when you have a job like writing. It was a gorgeous fall day in Southern California. I even walked past a tree that was valiantly turning red. Most of our trees just brown out and the leaves give up and drift to the ground. But this one was really putting on a show.
There was no one out on the streets. I met one mom with a stroller. That’s it. Everybody else was probably at work. I had elected not to walk down by the beach, so I wasn’t preoccupied looking at surfers (okay, I admit it) or watching for dolphins. Belle and Blitz occasionally wanted to sniff something, but they were pretty mellow too. We were all on cruise control. It was quiet. And that was….nice.
It occurred to me that we have too little stillness in our lives these days. If people go on a walk, they need to have earphones so they can listen to music, or to books being read to them, or radio talk shows. If they’re home, they want the TV on. If we have a few moments of alone time, we jump on the internet. I’m not sure we value stillness enough anymore
And I think that we are poorer for it. In stillness is when we get our best ideas. We have time to be grateful for what we have, to reflect on our actions, our relationships, or our goals. We have time to remember who we are and who we want to be.
What did I do with my 50 minutes of quiet? Not much. I thought about how lucky I was to be able to be out walking with my favorite four-legged creatures at ten in the morning. I thought about how lucky I was to live in a place that I liked, and enumerated some of the things I liked best about it. I thought about how Harry needed a break from making dinner no matter how much he loves to cook, and what I would cook for him, as a kind of a mini-gift. I got an idea about why one of the characters in my current work in progress would do what they were doing (the REAL reason). Nothing earth-shattering. No epiphanies about world peace. But it was enough.
I’m going to try to get more of those opportunities for stillness into my life. No internet. No self-created distracting noise. I’m going to try to take time to just be every once in a while. I bet my life is better for it.