Monday, July 24, 2017


It's quiet. But this time, the silence feels different than at other times.

I remember other times, other moments, even other places. For example, a week ago, as I was sitting in my dormitory room in Calgary, Alberta, with my roommates gone for the day and me finishing up breakfast, the quiet was deafening. I felt isolated, alone, trapped. I was thousands of miles from everyone I held dear, eating breakfast alone without their company, without their laughter and conversation, making do with my keyboard tray and my laptop as a makeshift table, and feeling incredibly homesick. Tears began to sting my eyes as they rose to the surface. 

Of course, it wasn't as bad as one time (one very LONG time) when I felt so very alone. My youngest child had died and the funeral was over, and the sympathies from well-wishers had tapered off, and I was (yes) surrounded by my closest family and closest friends ... but knowing that the tick, tick, tick of the clock would never again be interrupted by her raucous laughter or her crazy antics ... made the quiet an open sore.  I wanted to play the last video she sent to me just to hear her voice again, but it made my family sad, so I sat in the quiet - the cruel, taunting quiet - and suffered loss that no parent should suffer. 

A few days previous to the breakfast incident in Calgary, a classmate took me to "see the Rockies" - we drove up to Canmore, Alberta, (see my previous post) and I was increasingly in awe of the indescribable vastness of these wondrous creations, the closer we got to "The Three Sisters" peaks. Even though most of the time my classmate chattered away, in the core of me there settled a blissful quiet, where I was able to commune with my baby girl because she had seen the Rockies this close too, about a month before she died. It was somehow a shared experience, and in the inner quiet ... I felt close to her in a way I had not felt for a long time. And I knew she knew it, and that she was deliriously blissful and at Home, more than she ever could have felt here. I knew that she was okay, that her restless, anxious days were done. Happy tears slipped their way past my lower eyelids and slipped unhindered down my cheeks.  The quiet healed me, soothed me, comforted me. 

A black squirrel - July 19, 2017,
on the Mt. Royal U "Lincoln Park"
campus,Calgary, AB.
It nearly blended in
to the tree trunk...

A hare munching on fragrant white
clover, July 20, 2017
In Calgary this year, there were also times during the ordinary hustle and bustle of the day, when I sought out the quiet and made it part of my day; there, I could recharge my emotional batteries and gain strength to face whatever task was ahead. There was a lovely park on campus where I would linger either on my way to or from class, and sometimes both... being there seemed to restore my soul. Perhaps it was because it was so beautiful. I watched the water from the man-made waterfall tumble over the rocks and land in a little pool, close to an arbour with a little park bench inside; I smelled the roses and drank in their striking fuchsia, bold musical tones that sang to my eyes and caressed my nostrils in the breeze.

I was particularly drawn to the wildlife in Alberta. I got to see some amazing creatures there; to the locals they were a dime a dozen, but to me, they were remarkable: magpies, gophers, and hares abounded. Even the squirrels were different than at home: larger, and black instead of reddish-brown. They were fast too, so I was pleased to get a photo of one (see above, left). The quiet they produced in me was tender, almost a communal feeling. I felt somehow at one with my surroundings. It made being far away from home not quite so lonely. 

But the quiet today is different still.  It is a calmness, an assurance that all is right, that I am where I am supposed to be, that my family is not far away, and that I can rest and relax without worrying. I can close my eyes and know that when I open them, I will see the familiar - the jumble of cat toys and pillows, my books and papers, and the occasional cat walking across the floor or playing in an empty cardboard box. 

I like this quiet best of all.

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