Getting Quiet and Slowing Down

Leaves of Grass. Boston: Thayer and Eldridge, ...
Leaves of Grass. Boston: Thayer and Eldridge, year 85 of the States. [1860-61] page. Creator: Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 — Author. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On the Adirondack writing weekend, we walked along the shore of Lake Champlain. For most of the way, we chatted. I love words and filling my world with words.

Honestly, I can speak or write extemporaneously on any given topic. Yes, I’m a know-it-all (and I come from a long line of know-it-alls, of which we are proud!)

For three days in the Adirondacks, I did yoga with Michelle Maron (Lake Champlain Yoga Arts @ Live Well). Now back in the city and with the kids back to school, I’m doing guided meditation in the mornings. I’m finding benefits to being still, keeping quiet.

I LOVE Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

“Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,

We stopped and waited and listened.

Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

I first discovered the joys of Walt Whitman and in overstimulation in college when one of my friends liked to study, watch TV, blast the radio at the same time. I tried it back then and found I liked it too. I found it relaxing. I liked cacophony.

I like the adrenaline of rushing, so New York City’s energy is perfect for me. But so is the quiet of the country.

In light of my husband’s gradual slowing from Parkinson’s Disease (he was diagnosed nine years ago), I know I must, regularly, slow and quiet myself and the kids down too. Chris needs to take more time. He stands frozen. He cannot respond quickly to a question.

Walking in the Adirondacks.

In those instances, words don’t matter but slowing down does. Stopping to wait matters.

As we walked in the Adirondacks, the other writers and I stopped talking for a little bit. We said nothing.

When I wasn’t talking, I could listen. I could hear our footsteps, our breathing, a bird on the lake. I could hear a breeze through the leaves of grass.

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