The quiet of the morning is rattled by her snoring. That’s okay though, it assures me she is alive.
Do you remember the first lockdown?
Here in the UK, the streets were quiet. Perhaps quieter than they have been for hundreds of years. I remember receiving a notice on my phone through my work’s emergency contact system. You see, usually (pre-COVID time), I work in Westminster, not far from the Parliament buildings and just beside Westminster Abbey. It is considered a high-risk area due to it being a potential target for a bomb or terrorist attack so Church House had an emergency system that could be used in the event of a threat, or the need for a lockdown. This was the one and only time it was used while I worked there. The world fell silent or at least my world did in a way that I didn’t know was possible.
There were no more jam-packed underground trains and no more queues at the coffee shop. There were no more birthday parties, no more chasing the kids around at Church, no football, ballet, or PTA meetings.
As a society, we became more flexible than we ever imagined possible because we had too.
And I can’t help but wonder, what if we could discipline our minds to do the same? To stop. Be still. Be quiet.
For so many of us, the idea of stopping and being quiet, less busy, or not busy at all feels like having to stop a waterfall and yet, even rushing waters can calm. Yesterday, we visited the Aysgarth Falls. As we pulled into the parking lot, in good Lake District fashion, it was hailing. While brief, the hail was followed by a torrential downpour as I made PB+J on my lap in the car for our picnic; the noise was horrendous. But just as we finished, the rain stopped, and the sun poked through the dark clouds.
The falls were spectacular: grand and loud not unlike the storm that had just past and yet, if you walked up the river just ten yards, there was a crystal-clear pool where the trees descended from the sky into the depths of the water.
You see, while there is a time and place for noise and busyness, it is in the calm and quiet that there is space for reflection. It reminds me of a quote by George Herbert, a 17th century poet. His hymn, Teach Me My God and King, includes these incisive words:
A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heaven espy.
Can you find the quiet? And if so, what will you see?
This post is part of the 2021 Writing Challenge. This challenge is open to anyone and involves writing on one word a week for 52 weeks. Write for yourself or write for others but either way, please feel free to share by posting a link in the comments (if you’re posting on this week’s word) or post on social using the #2021writingchallenge and tagging me on Twitter or Instagram, or posting on my FB page so I can repost. Happy Writing!