It’s mid October. The weather is unseasonably warm. I spend my morning writing time in the Bee House, its sparse, half-finished interior a cavern for my thoughts.
It’s a change of scenery. A mini-vacation. A staycation, my mind interjects like an overzealous child.
I hate the word staycation.
It’s too cute, too dismissive of what this really is – simply appreciating what’s around me.
I look out the massive window. The morning sunlight glints across the pond. The mist rises from the water like strands of roving caught in mid air. I watch the ducks make their pilgrimage to the front yard where they’ll take a routine bath from a steel bucket. The thought of them willingly leaving a half acre of glistening water to bathe in a bucket makes me shake my head. Staycation indeed.
I look down at my coffee. It matches the newly stained floor. Most days it might not, but today I’d forgotten a spoon to stir in the creamer that makes the bitter sweet. Floor coffee it is.
My mind wanders to the thirty half-finished pieces in my studio. It starts to prioritize them like a giant plinko board, each plunking into place.
No, I gently admonish myself. The window. The pond. The sunlight. The floor. The coffee.
I watch the sunlight do the same dance off the small surface of coffee that it does on the pond.
Yes. Like that.
My eyes wander along the edge of the window where smatterings of milkweed seeds are trapped in a cobweb, each one a tiny ballerina in a tight brown bodice and white tulle skirt. I watch them dance as the wind wisps by then settle into stillness.
A lone patch of asters dries in the autumn sun. I miss the asters, I suddenly realize. I miss their purple crayon petals and bright gold middles. I look out across the field, now filled with cherry-red crabapples and green-gold leaves. I’ll miss them soon too.
I have to take pictures, I say urgently.
No you don’t, my mind nudges back. You have to notice.
The quiet will be gone soon enough and the work of the day will begin. And all too soon, in a few days or weeks or months, the long quiet will settle in. The winter will stifle moments like these. No Bee House, no floor coffee, no gazing across the pond. Just quietly watching a different outside from a different inside.
Soon the color will wash away and the canvas will be white again. The darkness of night will seep in along the edges. The Great Resetting. My mind will still wander, but more like a caged animal and less like an inquisitive child.
Unless I learn to sit with the quiet. To notice the mundane. To make space for empty time. To sip the bitter sweet.