Thursday, September 29, 2011

Silence & Solitude...

I'm in the middle of some planned time off, and it's been nice to run at about 70% for a change! Today, I had a couple of planned appointments, and I ended up running early for one of them, so I had some extra time to spare. I had about 45 minutes to spare for my afternoon appointment, and saw a sign that I had to follow.

My appointment was in the town where I worked for nearly 10 years, and I had seen this sign ("Wildlife Viewing Area") and always thought, "Yeah, right!" derisively. But today, I decided to check it out. Well, I have to admit, it wasn't to view wildlife. Mostly, I wanted a quiet place to do some writing. I've felt the need to do some introspection and writing lately, and I've needed to find the right space for it. Right now, as I type this, I'm watching football and hearing the clickety-clack of my keyboard.... which is fine. But for trying to find and best express what is in my heart and soul, then good old fashioned ink and paper was the only thing that would do.

So I made the turn and was greeted by suburbia... nice little houses with manicured lawns and pretty shrubs and fall flowers. Not exactly "wildlife" is it? But I drove on and suddenly, I was on a twisty little mountain drive. There, I saw the Department of Natural Resources sign announcing where I was, and yes, indeedy, it's a nature preserve, right there about a half-mile from nice ranch houses. Not at all what I was expecting.

I rolled down the car window to do some writing and get some fresh air ... and I heard it. I have no idea what kind of birds these were, but they had a distinctive call, and they were just beautiful in their gliding. They were enormous, compared to your average swallow (African and European, combined!), but next to a condor, probably not so big. But it was amazing to just sit and watch them for a while.

Then it appeared. From out of the woods came a butterfly -- not a particularly showy one, rather plain grey-black with a little blue coloring on the tips of the wings. But it landed right on the hood of my car, almost looking at me, and then it turned around to show me its wings. And it flitted for a second and came back. I was speechless. I was in complete awe.

I thought of the quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." Which is exactly what I needed to hear, even if just in my heart. And butterflies, as a symbol, often come up in my life. For those of us who live with lymphedema, the butterfly is our symbol to remind us that the therapist's touch should be as light to us as that of a butterfly, and that new life always emerges. And I have often thought of my own journey of change throughout my life -- in many different areas -- as that of the caterpillar to butterfly. Since butterflies have extra meaning for me, I wondered what this could have meant..... and then I thought, "Stop. Just stop analyzing and enjoy the wonder."

I didn't write a thing. Too awed by the few minutes I spent in solitude, with no noise and no need to do anything except BE THERE.


Daisy said...

Lovely post. I think we forget how nice it is to just sit and enjoy the moment we are in. I need to do that more often.

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