3 min read

Friday Open Thread (with Stillness)

A line of snow-laden pines and deciduous trees against patches of blue sky and sun-infused clouds.
In the pines, in the pines...

Dear Friends,

I got 1500 words into a Long Letter for February before deciding I would wait to finish and share it, because it is a recollection of a great deal of anger and anguish, and there is so much more of it than I can speak to. Instead, I want to tell you about where I am.

A mixture of snow-laden pines and bare trees on either side of a river, both banks voluminous with snow.
This photo is slightly blurry because I was taking it one-handed while a puppy tugged me in the other direction. 

I'm in a cabin in the woods by a river with my husband, two dear friends and their perfect puppy. Stu and I got here ahead of them, and for two days I read books and alternated between watching birds at the feeder – chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, and a very exciting female rose-breasted grosbeak – and flames licking logs in the woodstove. I did yoga by the fire. I walked around in search of more birds, and might have heard a pine siskin.

Then our friends arrived, and cooked for us, and we played Gloom together and entertained the puppy and took him out for walks. We've been talking – about life, about brains, about the world, about books – and touching, and braiding each other's hair, and laughing, and it has been so wonderful and so good.

We've also been quiet, in the easy way of long, deep friendship. I've been thinking a lot, while here, about stillness – a stillness that is awake and alive and aware, the stillness of watching and listening for birds, of observing snow fall, of listening to rain. I don't know very much about yoga's deeper principles, but I feel like I understand, sometimes, stillness as a kind of alignment: of being precisely where you are, where you need to be, with everything you are and everything around you sufficient unto each other, not giving or taking, but being together in a kind of mutuality that exceeds language.

I started by titling this thread "Friday Open Thread (with Quiet)" – but thought I might have used it before. In fact, I had, in a strikingly similar situation – river, birds, family, in the wake of hard grief – and changed this accordingly.

Still – as it were – I'd love for you to tell me of a time when you felt quiet in a way that was tangible and nourishing and good – whether quiet in your heart, quiet in your mind, quiet in your surroundings. How do you understand stillness? Have you struggled to give it a positive valence? I'd love to know.

I wish it for you, and for all of us, and for this world we share that has so much in it worth screaming about.



Postscripts of News:

A fluffy puppy with a black coat, tan eyebrows, cheeks and legs. He sits in a snowy landscape with snow on his adorable perfect nose from digging into the snowbanks. He wears a blue collar attached to a blue leash.

He's a mix of King Shepherd and Bernese Mountain Dog and he is perfect, the sweetest floofiest darling, and I am his aunt. Here he is being intrepid.

Puppy on a blue leash looking from a snowy riverbank through a treeline towards the river while the sun sets in the upper left hand corner, filling the photo with soft light.

I love him so much.

Wishing you deep and abiding care for yourselves and each other,