Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer Night's Implosion

The other night, we ate out for dinner. Afterwards, Billy took all the boys to go to Grandma's house, and I came home. All. By. Myself. Ahh.

Driving home, I had the windows rolled down to catch the cooler night air. The temperature gauge read 84 degrees F, but compared to daytime temps it was right refreshing. The dense summer air was a sun-warmed stream washing over me, not icy but still wonderfully cool and pleasant, caressing my face and arms and tossing my hair.

The peace of being by myself is almost overwhelming. I really have a rather solitary nature, though I have learned to be a lot more social since becoming an adult. My solitary tendencies are viciously squashed during this stage of my life, as I spend every moment with other people, mostly small persons who depend on me heavily. From the outside, it must seem fairly simple to carve out a little alone time in my days- stealing some moments while the children are sleeping or busy. However even in these brief respites, I am in demand. At any instant, I am likely to be called upon. At every instant, I am calculating, managing, thinking ahead. It is only when they leave my presence entirely, safe in responsible hands, that I'm suddenly reminded what it's really like to be by myself. My bodily needs are the only bodily needs I must concern myself with. Other duties may call, but my thoughts are my own. It's really quite drastic.

I slowed down along Main St, admiring the old overhanging oak branches and the golden glow of the streetlights. The intense humidity refracted the lights, giving each one its own halo, softening the light into something more akin to fireflies than lightbulbs. I smiled, picturing the regimental parade of fireflies, marching down Main Street in celebratory fashion. The crickets chirped a jaunty summer rhythm in time.

Suddenly, all these elements came together in my awareness, the peacefulness of my own company, the wash of the summer night air, the soft glow of the lights, the trees, the crickets. Everything condensed with a bang, a little implosion of perception. It felt a bit like stepping into a parallel, enchanted universe, one that I used to frequent but that I'd somehow left behind. The night around me was positively alive with magic, bursting with impossible possibilities.

How has it become so easy for me to look past this wonder, blind to the beauties all around me? How have I become a person who can't see the forest for the trees? I am always striving, striving to meet a thousand worthy goals and a thousand more. I forge ahead, doing my best though I know there will never be enough of me to go around. In trying always to do better, to be more on top of things, I have shuttered my awareness of the finer wonders of the world. Somehow I, one whose very identity was wrapped up in magic, have managed to shelve that openness in favor of perceived efficiency.

Somehow in trying to improve, I am quashing the only parts of me that I felt truly sure of. My own personal wisdom, if you will. It is so very, very hard to be efficient and be open, relaxed, aware at the same time. Efficiency leaves very little room for serendipity. I hope I will be able to find that balance, to pole the deeper waters down the middle, where the current runs fast and sure, and I can sit back and enjoy the ride.


Grace said...

It can be easier than we'd like to think to lose ourselves without even realizing it when we have children.

Glad you woke up and enjoyed the night.

See you tomorrow.

Kit said...

Ain't that the sad truth? Missed you last week! :)

Five Bears A-Blogging said...

Funny how we feel we are "stealing" time from our families...when time is really the only thing that is truly "ours". How has it become the rightful possession of others? Quietly, little by little, hour by hour, until we need "permission" to dedicate an hour to ourselves alone. (sigh) Time for an hour or so to myself :)