For the last few years Karen and I have not been able to spend much time together. Life took us in different directions and we both had other business to attend to. I can't vouch for her but I can say for myself that during this time I missed her terribly. It was all I could do not to pick up the phone every time I had something or some thought to share. It was what I had done for so long that it just didn't seem natural not to do it. This year we have made a concerted effort to change that and I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to be sharing laughs with my friend once again. For two people who are so incredibly different we are so similar. I guess that's where the saying "great minds think alike" comes from.
In the town where Karen lives there is a free concert on the first Friday of every month. I made a promise to drive there (pathetically only an hour away from from my house) and spend the night or weekend enjoying the cultural events or what ever else we chose to do. This summer has been an unreasonably hot one so needless to say we made it to the first concert of the series in May but have opted to find other things to do the rest of the summer. Last weekend, as hurricane Irene was threatening to bring enourmous amounts of rain and damaging winds to the southeast, it also pushed a front of incredible heat and high humidity ahead of it. At 8:00 p.m. Karen and I decided to take a walk into downtown to listen to what remained of the concert. By the time the sun went down the temperature remained at 93 degrees. Even with a slight breeze the air was stifling. We found an open spot in the park and stood there listening to a lively rendition of the Blues Brothers for maybe 15 minutes when we both looked at each other and said "I'm hot!". We turned to walk the ten minutes it takes to get back to Karen's house from the park where the concert was. On the way back we walked into another park area next to the river that was created a couple of years ago in an otherwise heat filled, dismal parking lot. This park just happens to have the best fountain that you are actually invited to play in. You bet we did too! Feet first, then legs, then arms and before you know it Karen is in the thick of the down pour screaming "wee!" like the other children and then, of course, I had to follow. The water was the perfect temperature to cool off and definitely way cooler than any pool we might have found. It was even better than a cherry popsicle.
The next day, we didn't have any plans what so ever. I think that is the best way to start a Saturday morning. Since it was holiday weekend Karen checked the local paper to see what sort of events were happening around town. For the last 6 years I have always been in Taos, New Mexico for the Labor day weekend so when Karen mentioned that there was a Pow Wow going on at another one of the local parks I felt compelled to go. Plus I was sure that someone would be selling turquoise and silver. It was blazing hot by the time we arrived at the park but most of the tents and exhibits were set up in the shady areas of the park. As predicted there were a few vendors selling traditional southwestern jewelry but that is not what we ended up being drawn to. Karen bought the most beatiful necklace made of elk horn, pearls and jasper from a woman I described as an "Indian woman". She politely corrected me and explained that "Indian" was like a noun and that essentially everyone, including me and Karen, were considered "the people". She was from Nashville and told us a great story about how she ended up in Nashville. She said as she was driving north from Florida she drove through Tennessee. I don't remember where exactly she was driving to. As her car rolled through Tennessee she felt a real sense of peace, as if the land were speaking to her and she just knew that was where she belonged. Her decision seemed so simple. The message I got from this story was when you can quiet your mind and your heart, the right things will happen. I also got a beautiful Elk skin bag that feels like silk from another vendor. I may never carry it but I will take it out periodically to run my hands over it. It makes me happy!
There is something about absolute silence that frightens most people. There is so much noise every where you go that it is almost impossible to turn it all off and just be. For some silence can be associated with the aftermath of a natural disaster or a man-made disaster (remember 9/11 and no planes flying in the sky for days), the dark of the night or the moment right before something scary is going to happen. I regard silence as an opportunity. I relfect, rejoice, correct, plan and just let my mind wander and create. What would you do with total silence and absolutely nothing else to occupy your time or your mind? How long could you stand it? I personally love the peace and quiet and get cranky when I don't have it (and need it for longer periods than most people require). So I ask you today to shut up, turn it off, sit down and let be what will be. Silence, please!