Sunday, June 5, 2011

Breaking the Silence

It's been awhile since I've written here. My last post was conceived a few months ago in the natural quiet beneath a palo verde tree. Since then, being outside in the brilliant Sonoran spring has taken priority to sitting down to write in this forum. But now it is hot again, so there is less incentive for me to hike, and perhaps more time to write. Summer in Phoenix is the equivalent to bitter winter in northern climates, where people hunker indoors to protect themselves from harsh weather.

Quiet is still on my mind. I just returned from a writing workshop in Santa Fe, where the photo above was taken. Silouhettes cast on canvas walls of a warehouse in the plaza caught my attention, an unplanned work of art among a feast of galleries. There was no author that I know of but Nature. Here, Nature includes a human element, whomever formed the wrought iron fence and hung the canvas. There is no price tag for this work (although I'm willing to sell the photo, of course!).

Breaking the silence comes on the heals too, of conversation with my friend Claudette, who had recently returned from a six day silent meditation retreat in northern New Mexico. Less than 24 hours after she came home, we visited in her kitchen in Santa Fe. She, her husband Charles and I chattered for four hours; we had a lot of catching up to do after over a year apart. Words flowed along with laughter as we shared soup and bread.

Two days later, when I had a few hours to myself, I found myself yearning for more silence. The week had been filled with words: reading, writing, talking, listening to lectures. In the hills above Santa Fe, I sat by a creek and let all those words go. Just bird song and running water and wind in the pines. Natural quiet.

That is when I composed an essay, not the one above, but this one below: a 200 word message of silence:

May Peace be with you.

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