Monday, February 12, 2007

Dust in a sunbeam

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dust in a sunbeam
Current mood: calm

Today the house was quiet for a good couple of hours. It was wonderful.

Billy took Littleman with him to a couple casual meetings, so when Sweetcheeks was napping I had the house all to myself. The radio was off, the dogs were outside and the most pressing chores were done. After tidying the kitchen a little I took a shower, read and cuddled under the blankets. For some reason I couldn't quite sleep, but just relaxing there and listening to the relative silence was very nice.

It's only in these rare moments of quiet contemplation that the normally hidden sounds around me reenter my conciousness- birdsong outside, the creaking of the walls as the wind blows, some voices next door, the highway far off. Though the sun was pouring exuberantly through the bedroom windows, pooling and dripping light from every surface it touched, it's honey warmth was mere illusion- the air was crisp and quite cold, and I wrapped my blankets tighter around me. The birds made a riot of cheerful sound, and it made me happy to hear it because that means Spring is not really so far off now.

Lying there, I was thinking about awareness- about really seeing, about being in a place. So much of the time I am consumed with concerns that are abstract, with realities in the future and with the mundane physical aspects of my environment. So much of my life is spent this way, trying to keep up with my responsibilities and conform to a schedule of sorts. So much needs to get done each day, that there is no time left to just be in the day. No time to recharge my soul in quietude. No time to while away with my boys, focusing on what they have to say to me or what little games they want to play. No time to watch the sunlight filter through the leaves, or quietly spend an hour watching the birds come and go at the feeder. No time to inspect acorns or make detailed analyses of dirt, no time to mentally catalogue the curve of Littleman's cheekbones or the shining curl of Sweetcheeks' hair. If it were not for photographs, I'd have no memory at all of huge chunks of the last few years. I feel like these things are slipping through my fingers, yet I am struggling to keep up with all the "real" things I must get done. I try to stop once in awhile to focus, to listen, but it is far, far from enough. I know things will improve as the boys continue to grow, as they get more self-sufficient. But until then, what? Am I losing precious treasure to the bank accounts, meal preparation, endless cleaning, dishes, laundry, running errands, damn tax preparation? To wiping dog feet, sweeping up cereal, folding diapers, brushing the teeth of a screaming struggling toddler? I don't know. I'm not sure it matters much, because this stuff has to be done. What am I to do?

The enlightened thing, I suppose, would be to find transcendence in these mundane necessary tasks. Ideally I should find the zen in the everyday. But I'm sorry- it's just not there for me. If I try, I can find it in theory. I can understand the zen of picking up megablocks. But that's sort of an oxymoron isn't it? Transcendence is not about understanding. It is a state of being. Transcendence IS. Transcendence can be found in the dust motes dancing in a sunbeam, but only if you really see them. These days, I don't have time to see. My soul shrivels in blindness.

OK, that sounds very bleak. It's not as bad as all that! Luckily, it doesn't take much for me to get a glimpse, if you will. After all, dust is pretty easy to come by in my house! And I seem to have a naturally cheerful disposition that resurfaces easily, like a cork. I have been feeling down for a few days, and I'm sure it's not totally over. But this afternoon, for a little while at least, I watched dust in a sunbeam, and I listened to the birds calling.

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