Friday, September 25, 2009

Reflecting the Solitude

I cherish the quiet. Require it. Relish it. Covet it at times. Always need it.

The noise level sometimes makes my head feel like it will explode.

At first I thought it was just because I am 45 years old with a newly minted 8 year old daughter and 5 1/2 year old daughter who have a shrieking form of noise that all the tussling of the boys could never compare. Then I thought that perhaps this relishing of the quiet has always been with me since I was a child.

The time when I can first remember anything solid was when I was seven. I remember being sick a lot and in bed a lot. There was always plenty of time for the thoughts in my mind to dance around and form. Words and imagination, ponderings and wonderings, all of this was with me when my lungs struggled to function and airways constricted tightly pushing out air. Once I thought the constant fight for air and breathing sent me into another sphere, a place where time was not time. Either way, it was always me and the quiet and solitude and contentment.

I think I've had it quiet most of my adult life, my husband would not think that since he says I am a talker. Actually, all the meetings I had this week with friends would belie the introvert that rests in my soul, but, yes, the quiet has always been something I need, want, and crave. Maybe it began when tragedy happened.

Many, many, many moons ago I retreated to my aunt's top floor in her spacious and quaint home in Benton Township, Michigan. Her home was a retreat, a respite, a place to heal, quietly. When I sought refuge there, her three daughters, all my seniors, were already out-in-the-world. She only had her husband and grandson. I had the days to myself as they all left in the morning for the various parts of life. Her upstairs was a mini-apart sans kitchen. I could snuggle in the bedroom part, read away the hours in the spacious living room or go in the sitting room and stair out the windows. It was quiet and it was just what my soul needed to repair from my first-born's murder. The vast space of noiselessness allowed my spirit time to prepare another note for the rest of my life's symphony.

College was peaceful in part because I had my own apartment. I could work full-time, attend class full-time, spend time with friends, then chase away the campus chaos in the silence of my little two bedroom apartment. My books, words, and the music of my inner voice were the parts that surrounded my space, and I liked it that way.

Life and marriage, children and friends all brought different instruments to my life. Their presence is part of who I am and what makes me whole, yet there will always be the place within me that puts my hands over my ears, closes my eyes, and turns down the volume. Sometimes for just a moment, just a space to say to everyone, "shhhhhhh, I'm trying to think."

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