In the Quiet of the Night

The air was heavy through the open windows, held in the caress of the coming rain.

It had been a perfect night, a night of quiet, a night of rapture in a book, of not being able to put it down, of not wanting to turn out the light. And when she did, she lay awake under mounds of blankets, the fresh air a single repetitive kiss on the top of her nose, the only part she dared to bare to the wind.

And then she slept.

It was a long, comfortable sleep and one which arched into morning, as the sun rose gray in the rainy shadows and she hit the snooze button not once, but three times until finally climbing into the day.

And then it was a new day.

There is always a new day, she thinks. The house is quiet in the dawn, the kind of quiet she can inhabit.

Could this day be like a seamless stream, one project drawing her to the next, one meeting subtly turning over into another? She was tired from driving from distant points, across a town dotted with construction barrels and slow-moving cars.

She realized, in the hopeful dawn, that hers was a life of proposals and promises, of projects and starting-overs, constantly, every day. A to-do list that would never be completed, for she kept adding, gratefully so, to its expectations.

A filling life. A satisfying life. A life of gratitude and of service and of opportunity and of gift.

And in those first moments, before she began to cross off items, before she began to accomplish and satisfy, she reflected on the way the river tumbles through the dam, and down the steppes. How it buckles over itself and makes that fast sound, the sound of being in a hurry to get to the next place.

But of course, the water is not in a hurry. It can’t be. It is, rather, forced into its fast pace but a series of tightenings and then, eventually, it always spreads out into a meander.

She liked that analogy. She inhabited it, turning to the window to look at the sky.

The clouds seemed to move as fast as she remembered that river. But the story always intensifies in memory.

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