Monday, October 15, 2012

Being still

[Photograph by Linda McCartney, 1996]

The past 8-13 years have been crazy.  Having children generally takes a person's life and shakes it...continuously.  Any moment where it feels like you've caught up, that things make sense, that you've finally conquered fleeting.  Add a special-needs diagnosis for your younger child into the mix, and what you have is chaos and stress multiplied.

I came upon the above photograph at some point before the birth of my first child.  I think I found it in a magazine, and clipped it to tuck into whatever journal I was using at that point.  Little did I know then that this photograph would hint at a stillness which I have yet to recapture, 13 years into the parenting journey.  But it is a beautiful image, I think.  The background in unfocused of course, but when I look at this photo I envision the environment of the background to be several acres of grass/garden/woods, sloping gently down to a small creek.  Just outside the area of this photo is a mug of steaming, freshly-steeped tea.  Other than muffled sounds of birds and a breeze from outside, it is absolutely, utterly quiet in the room. 

There is stillness in this image.  And in contemplating it, there is a stolen moment of time in which to be still.

I am not still very often.  That is a very difficult state to achieve for any woman with children, pets, and a house for which they are responsible.  When I got up this morning I already had the weight on my head of the list of things which I should do, must do, on and on.  For the past 13+ years I have belonged to a group of humans for whom "being still" must be, has to be, a conscious choice.  This group of people no longer has the sweet luxury of chunks of completely un-claimed time.  The much-celebrated and longed-for "weekend" really has no meaning.  Being able to sit down and watch a 2-3 hour-long football game, without interruption, absolutely never happens.  Sometimes "being still" means simply being able to stay in one place for several hours, without being called upon every 10-20 minutes (either mentally, or actually) to find something/cook something/clean something/feed someone/tend to someone else's needs. 

Do you choose to be still, every so often?  What does your stillness look like?


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