Calm excites. An accidental paradox.
Emotion springs, gathers in pools, gains ground, and flows:
a vibrant stream; a turbulent brook; a rolling
river, winding down but never petering out,
sustaining through innate strength; on the surface,
barely a ripple noticed, while below, the deep
unspeakable swell of the soul easing.
For me, there is a sense of peace which is attainable, although it might be just momentarily experienced, but imagining or being given an image of such a place, or time, elicits excitement. Even in a moment of calm, sometimes I catch myself unawares and it’s thrilling to realise, here I am at peace. A paradox of responses.
A few Summers ago, whilst out dog walking, I came across a young woman sitting in the middle edge of a farmer’s field, studying books. She was possibly a student preparing for an exam. As she looked up, I felt sorry for disturbing her. The scene reminded me of myself, many Summers past, sitting on the baked turf of our small back garden, supposedly revising for my O-Levels but discovering instead why I should start reading novels.
My grades were mediocre but a love of literature flourished. I suppose you might call it a Life Changing moment of a sort; I don’t have many of those. All this comes to mind now as I feel the pleasure of reading has not been in a sweet spot for a long while.
Reading – and also listening to music for that matter – require a set-aside time and space, a “me time”, if you like, in order to immerse and engage fully and enjoyably. It seems Life abhors tranquility and peace as much as nature abhors a vacuum, and the trouble with both reading and listening to music is that, to the outside world, you have all the appearance of someone looking lost for something to do. Intruders invade; “L’enfer, c’est les autres“, as Sartre put it.
Maybe I should take a leaf from the young woman’s book and go and find a quiet field to sit in and read. Not everyday but now and again; weather permitting. Maybe a coffee shop in its early hours of opening, perhaps? This is why I hanker after a “shed”. In such a shed, I could secrete myself away for an hour to read and listen to music! Either way for now, I must change my life long habit and pick up my book in the quieter mornings, and leave the nighttime for sleep.