It just happened, and at this point I can’t recall the circumstances that allowed for its occurrence. As I re-enter the memory and take a peek, I see that I’m sitting in front of the wood stove. Dressed in jeans and an old henley, I feel deliciously physically spent from some outside task or project and in need of warmth and coffee. Bush-hogging on my parents’ land seems a likely explanation, but if it isn’t, it at least sounds impressive.
I remember the quiet more than any other detail.
An absolutely still house greeted me that afternoon when I opened the door to our home. The furnace wasn’t running, although it was Fall. The refrigerator wasn’t groaning (our current refrigerator’s predecessor was possessed, or at least sounded like it at times). There was no music playing. Nothing whirred. Nothing clicked. That much quiet in an on-the-grid home in the fall is remarkable in and of itself.
But this quiet was not simply a lack of noise. This quiet was like the leading edge of a storm; only it wasn’t a storm. It was intense silence. This was a silence that vibrated with promise. A big glob of unexpected, unrequested, guilt-free, not putting anyone out or off, nobody-even-knows-where-I-am-right-now, primo quality time to myself.
“No way!” I thought. “Wow!”
I was giddy.
Let me explain before I go on. Found time alone is like found money to me, as I suspect it is to most introverts. Really! Have you ever found a twenty dollar bill on the ground? Imagine tripping and falling into a soft pile of cash. That’s what solitude feels like to me. I treasure time with my loved ones and my life would be meaningless without them and I need a certain amount of time alone. Because, that’s why. Why do extroverts need the air to be filled with words at all times and further, why does it need to be my air? Is that normal? I mean, at a reception once a marauding extrovert cornered me in a round room.
There’s no right or wrong to it; the important thing is to learn how you function best and do it. In order to feel my best, I require a certain amount of my awake time alone. Six percent for 6 days a week and 20% once a week would be optimal. (I’ve done the math).
Back to quiet house.
I started a fire in the old wood stove. Old wood stove, like old refrigerator has been replaced with a more efficient unit and it needed to happen. Yet, old wood stove had magical properties. The stovepipe functioned as a conduit between this realm and another. I can only manage that experience now by opening the door on this new tight wood stove while I meditate and the plant manager frowns on that.
Next, I pushed the futon couch from its home against the wall to squarely in front of the fire, and about ten feet back.
In the kitchen, I plugged in my 4-cup Mr. Coffee, gave him a drink and loaded in two tablespoons of Mind, Body & Soul coffee. A moment later, it gurgled to a stop and I poured the promising dark liquid into my mug and headed to the futon couch.
“Pizza,” I thought. “There’s leftover Strawberry Patch pepperoni pizza in the fridge!”
“Oh, I’m in Heaven.”
Cold pizza and hot coffee. If there’s a more perfect union, I – well, no, I stand by cold pizza and hot coffee forever and ever. Amen.
Cold, tired body, sitting cross-legged in front of magical wood stove, pizza in left hand, full cup of coffee in the right. Face beaming, eyes damp, breaths shallow I had the loveliest visit with a delightful apparition. She had pictures from a beautiful place just at the beginning of the forest and a bolt of magenta velvet that sent tingles down my limbs.
Who knows how much later I awoke, sagged sideways but still cross legged in front of the fire. My partially eaten slice of pizza sat patiently touching my hand. At some point my right hand had rested on my heart and lovingly anointed it with the contents of my cup.