One of those nights – one of girls had a high fever and couldn’t sleep and another was coughing so keeping our oldest awake. In short, we all saw aspects of the night pass by in minute long sections. Wednesday is my busiest teaching day and I get home after 9pm, so this lack of rest becomes all the more pronounced.
As such, I am up now and facing the dawn beside our garden. I am in the silence of this morning.
It is amazing how quiet it is when I dont disturb the twilight.
At night I fall asleep in the spring to a riot of frogs barking in the pond near our home – a chorus so chaotic yet rythmically unified that John Cage probably wishes that he had thought of it first. Yet with the dawn these prehistoric chantors retreat to their muddy abodes and the silence remains. Birds – we have an assortment of junkos frequent our yard – are only now waking up.
Finding these pockets of silence is not easy and takes work. One of the desert fathers of the 5th cenutry – Abba Felix – wrote that the spiritual pilgrim needs to “create a space where obedience to truth is practiced.” Creating a space for silence is a bit counter-intuitive it seems (isnt silence itself merely space?) but the more jacked-in our culture becomes – cell phones ringing, texting one another, IM flashing in pop-ups on our screen, email flooding in and purging out, TIVO’d television shows crowding our senses at all hours of the day, podcasts fighting for attention with the ever-blaring radio – the more such a discipline will save us from ourselves.
Sometimes such a holy space is right before us – in the liminality of our just having been asleep in the dawning light and the moment prior to all our senses being assaulted by our modern life.
I heard a creak on the floor boards upstairs… looks like it is time to click my heels together 3 times and head back to Kansas.