From a few years back... something that resonated with me that I had forgotten that I wrote.
The air is still. The world is quiet. It is an odd pause in the bustle of the busy street. The constant flow of jets overhead stops for a moment. The stream of red lights going and white lights coming over the far away hill show that the arterial vessels of civilization still pump. It is just my little world here that has gone quiet.
The dog sniffs the air expectantly. I listen too. Listen to the quiet. Smell the cool air. A bird sings somewhere. The frozen grass crunches underfoot. We are caught in between, it seems. Caught in that waiting. Waiting for the cold to end and the new growth to begin.
There is the temptation in this world to fear the quiet. We grow nervous by the waiting. The expectation. It is worse than bad news. Bad news can be dealt with. Handled. Faced. Worked on. Gotten over. But quiet is harder. In it lurks our worst fears or our greatest wishes... or perhaps even the disappointment that when the quiet is gone again, all will be just the same.
A new sound emerges. Low and distant. Growing louder. The dog and I turn toward it. It comes from the sky. High up. But not the dull constant whine of a jet engine. The jagged honking of an enormous vee of geese. Hundreds of them. They follow the leader, the vee breaking and reforming in an organic, and cosmically mathematically way. They are returning. Coming home. The scales of the quiet are broken and despite the crunching of the grass, and the wispy breath in the cold air... the change is coming.
I have been through these times often enough to know that the quiet isn't to be dreaded any longer. Change comes regardless. And on its own terms. I am merely a passenger. I can look back at my life and see those crossroads that came before me. Some were happy. Some not. But they were all valuable to who I am now.
The quiet spaces are like silver coins in my hand. Some are worn and dirty. Some are small. Some large. But all valuable in their own way. And together they add up to a lifetime. Am I worth more now than I was then? Maybe. Or maybe not. Worth rises and falls on the whims of strangers. And those that count their coins constantly have buried their heads in the past. Trying to control what is uncontrollable. They will not buy future happiness. They are only tokens. Reminders.
And so I pocket the coins. They settle there, a comforting weight. And I tell myself that they are worthless to anyone but me. And I watch the geese coming. I watch the change coming. Without fear. Without expectation. But with a rueful smile.
On Becoming My Grandmother
3 months ago