The other day, during some rare quiet time at our house, I sat outside on the back porch with a good book.
It was a perfect back porch day, warm but cloudy. No sweatshirt or sunglasses needed.
The warmth and the clouds started to feel like a blanket and I, in turn, started to feel a little drowsy. So I closed the book, tilted my head back, and shut my eyes.
And I just sat there and listened.
For three whole minutes, I paid attention only to the sounds around me.
I heard dueling lawn mowers. I heard birds chirping in trees. I heard a band playing music in the distance, unsure whether it was a nearby concert or a backyard wedding. I heard children laughing out front. I heard a few dogs bark. I heard the drumbeats of two construction trucks as they traveled down the street. I heard the rumble of thunder in the clouds.
In between those sounds, I heard phrases of remarkable silence.
When I opened my eyes, I looked around me. I noticed the varying lengths and greens in the grass. I saw leaves glimmer in the tall trees. I watched my son’s homemade birdfeeder swing from a branch. I followed birds as they swooped in U shapes from one tree to the next. I saw misplaced rocks and abandoned toys.
I felt heavy. But it was a good kind of heavy, a gratifying kind of heavy. Not the kind of heavy you feel when the alarm goes off in the morning. Or the kind of heavy you feel with exhaustion or stress or a broken heart.
I felt grounded. I felt peaceful. I felt secure. I felt like my eyes and my ears had opened in some new ways.
It was lovely.
I noticed the good heavy stayed with me long past those moments. I still felt it when I went back to my day. I moved with more purpose with my tasks, with my words, with my life.
That was lovely too.
All I needed was a little stillness, a few moments to abandon all of my distractions and self-produced noise.
All I needed was to take it all in and appreciate what shows up in between the lines.
All I needed was three minutes.
I found my present. And a little peace to pocket for the road.