It's Friday and everything is done for this week. I've finished some art projects, I've worked on calligraphy practice, my blog is posted. I also have been feeling overwhelmed by the news this week: Nepal, the drownings off Italy, Baltimore, and more. I needed to take some time to myself. I found a good place out on our back porch.
As I work on a piece of cross-stitching that has taken me 20 years to complete, I listen to what is going on around me. First, I hear the twittering song of one of the canary finches that live around us. What a voice from such a small bird.
The wind picks up. The weather is changing with the possibility of rain. In drought-parched California any change in weather or chance of rain is good news. I listen as the breeze collects in the trees, soughing through the leaves. Out of the corner of my eye, I keep seeing something small and dark dash across the patio stones. I concentrate on the stones and realize that it isn't lizards or voles running through, just the leaves left over from last year that skitter across the patio.
I take more stitches. I hear the doves coo, the squirrels chatter, the chirp of the hummingbird, and the whistle of a quail. I even think I hear the sounds of the mole digging tunnels industriously in our front yard.
Not all the sounds are natural.
I listen again and hear our neighbor clunking one rock or brick against another as he moves his garden around again. I hear the chunk of a golf club striking a ball. A plane rumbles over. A car passes by on the street.
And then I hear the finch once more. I look down at the progress I have made on my project. I am almost finished. The piece is a complicated design. I began the work when we used to take summer trips to a Minnesota lake. I only worked on it as I was relaxing by the lake. When our son was in high school and we stopped our trips, I put the work away and forgot about it until recently. Making each cross-stitch gives me time for a moment of sounds in our backyard.
What do you do to take quiet time for yourself?
Other surprises: I've been selected as a Star Blogger on Story Circle Network, an online writing community for women that offers writing classes and groups to encourage writing your stories. Find them at: