Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stillness {Day 16}: The Clock Stood Still

I visited a friend's parents today - made my right turn onto their road, following the narrow single lane back towards their familiar gate.  It must have been about this time of year I drove that lane for the first time, twenty five years ago.  I eased into their driveway - almost as familiar as my own parents', and I had the strangest, most beautiful sense of the constrictions of time and space suspending.  

The lovely old farmhouse welcomed me as it has so many hundreds of times - with graciousness, quiet beauty, and imperfection.    The family inside - brothers, sisters, parents, grandchildren, babies -  shared all of those traits and more, as we hugged hello, wondered how long has it been? and traded stories. 

Perhaps it was the warm autumn sun, the alchemy of that warmth mixed with a beautiful October breeze that turned leaves of trees all around the house, and made curtains wave to me.  Perhaps it was the lack of schedule - the willing suspension of deadlines, of timeframes, of task lists.  Perhaps the evanescent magic of fall - a time of year so quick to end, so dark in its finishing days - made the moments there in the farmhouse feel all the more achingly beautiful.

fall sunshine
photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The facts of our lives:  grinding daily schedules, disappointments inherent in adult life, heartbreaks acknowledged but unspoken, did not magically disappear.  But somehow, there in the autumn sunshine, all of our lives became so much larger than the sum of our days, so much bigger than a life of schedule and task.

A family, gathered.  A friend, welcomed.  Somehow the simple rituals of a family together took me closer yet to the essence of Stillness:  awareness of - and gratitude for - history.  For connection.  For time. For love.

These, friends, are the gifts of Stillness. 

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