My family and I are in the midst of burying my dad. It’s hard. But tonight we sat around my grannie’s kitchen table and told our stories. And we laughed. And laughed. And laughed. It’s good medicine. It’s what my dad would’ve wanted.
My dad was a writer. He spent some time writing sports and commentary for the Tahlequah Times Journal. While we were rummaging through 2 drawers of my dad’s belongings searching for a compass to lead us towards his final wishes, we discovered a couple old newspapers. Inside were stories from my dad.
This one is dated December 9, 1995.
The thin morning sunlight cuts through the nearly bare trees warming my body as it shows up at work as it has for countless number os years. I can hear the dried leaves skitter by as I sit here and try to draw strength for my upcoming trip to Texas for the holidays.
Some people pray or actually go to church before going on an extended trip. Others break out their good luck charms or their religious medals (such as St. Christopher, the patron Saint of travelers)–and that ain’t a bad idea, seeing as there’s an outside chance that God is a Catholic.
I meditate. I sit quietly, as it were, commune with nature. After an hour of this my whole state of mind rearranges itself into a more harmonious state, and I’m comfortable with myself once more.
I don’t know how this miracle happens. But in sitting here alone, the pathway ahead becomes more clear, my cares become lighter and that elusive feeling of happiness is not so hard to attain.
“Quiet sitting”, as I call it, begins early in life. All children have a need to sit quietly and reflect on the happenings of the day. Every one of us can remember such a spot: an attic or cellar, a fence row or the spreading branches of a mimosa tree (just right for sitting).
My own personal quiet place was a huge blackjack oak tree. I could sit there in that fork near the top and watch the eagles and red-tailed hawks soaring on the uplifting thermals many hundreds of feet above me as the wisps of cloud tendrils weaved themselves in and out of the tree branches. On a clear day you could see forever from my tree.
These were our private retreats where oldsters were never welcome. An escape hatch where we could lick our wounds, real or imagined, after a solid bout of sparring in the real world. In those early years we didn’t know grown-ups needed their own little corner of the world, a place to sit down and go through their own little confusions and sort out their own problems that sometimes seemed insurmountable.
I have a rough-hewn bench since the climbing days of my youth. I call it mine although I am not the deeded owner. It sits between two giant sycamore trees This hard psychiatric bench is just right for sitting, and the sun nearly always finds it.
In the month of February it is a warm spot in a cold world. I can see the first green shoots as they nose their way sunward during these days when winter holds the world hostage in its icy grip.
My bench sits near a busy back country road, but I seem to be in a wilderness where time waits on you rather than the pressure cooker that we call the world today. April builds a new world here, the sun lingers and early spring flowers push their heads above ground for their first peek at this brave new world they are about to become part of.
On a July when there are no floaters out, the bench is a quiet place, shaded and silent. It’s not much, but you can live quiet there. If I am really quiet, perhaps a few birds will come along and serenade me with their warblings. Perhaps old man squirrel will whisk by and stop for a while questioning my sitting–so still.
I have sat on this bench in the fall when the rich autumn colors are reflected in the waters that babble below my bench. And now there is a melancholy note to my bench sitting as I try to store up enough peace to last me the entire winter.
In this hurried pace that we call modern living, I highly recommend that you find you a quiet place to just sit. It’s therapy and inexpensive and even the busiest person can steal away for an hour or so. Try it and you will enjoy a little of the miracle.
Till you’re better paid.