The Need for Quiet

the-need-for-quietWe live in a noisy world. Yep, noise pollution is a thing.

Sometimes it comes with people. Other times it comes with the machines we can no longer live without.

Have you ever listened to the silence that comes when the power goes out of your home? That louder than thunder stillness in which you can hear your heart beat. You hear every creak of the house and every raindrop on the roof, wondering if you will ever be able to fall asleep.

When we lose power at home, I go a bit into survival mode, but once we have light and everyone is settled down, I grab my notebook and begin writing. Truly there is little else I can do when I want to enjoy that quiet.

Recently, I went to the yearly writing retreat with MidMichigan Writers. The members of this group try to retreat each year although it doesn’t always happen. It is simply a weekend away with like minded people. For those of us in the group, we talk about writing.

And, talk and talk about writing.

By the time that I arrived, I was in desperate need of some quiet time. I’d had a day filled with little ones and lots of frustrations. During the drive, I tried to decompress and had a bit of success but walking into the retreat space told me I hadn’t done enough.

I don’t know what the biggest turnout has been, but this group was large and loud. Loud in a good way except when you had a day like I did. I attempted to put my issues aside, even drinking some tea that helped me to settle in. Of course, politics being what they are this year, the conversation didn’t stop until the lights went out.

After getting up and having breakfast, I attempted to sit down and write.

Attempted is a good word for it. Nothing would come. There are days when the words just don’t come, and despair takes over. How could I not be able to write at a writing retreat? It probably happens more often than I think.

I decided that I needed to go out for a walk. I even declined any joiners on my walk because, more than the walk, I needed the quiet.

As I stepped out into the moist fall air, I took a breath and headed toward a small wooded neighborhood away from the main road. Along the way, I passed a couple who were busy planting hosta’s before the weather turns. Each step I took, I could feel peace taking over.

Once off the main road, I started a hawk who had been hunting. I only know this because I heard a panicked squeak in the tree where the hawk flew out. I tried to follow the hawk, but it disappeared into the trees. As I walked past houses, some seasonal and some permanent, most quite interesting, ideas began to flow through my brain. I hadn’t brought pen or paper, or my phone, so I decided to experience whatever I could.

My walk wasn’t long, and when I got back to the room, it was quiet. Unusually quiet. For a moment, I thought something was wrong, but everyone was writing. I didn’t join in the exercise, but I did sit down and write some of the thoughts I’d experienced on my walk.

I decided on that weekend that a walk is the cure for just about anything.

You should try it sometime.

Friday Five: October Favorites

pumpkins-504120_1280If I must choose, fall is my favorite time of year. And, I like October the best of all the fall months.

I’m sure if I were to list the reasons there would be so many more than five.

Before I get to my actual list of October favorites (if these are duplicates from September, I apologize), there is something remarkable, for me at least, about this month. It is kind of an anniversary for me.

One year ago I began a writing challenge by Jeff Goins called My 500 Words. The goal of this challenge is to write at least 500 words each day. I have had a remarkable year of meeting this goal nearly every day. My writing has reached new heights and I am excited to see what this next year will bring.

Now for my October favorites:

It’s pumpkin season – Notice that I didn’t say pumpkin spice but just pumpkins. While I do like some pumpkin-flavored treats, I enjoy going to the pumpkin patch and picking one out. Whether or not I carve the pumpkin, coming home to one sitting on my stoop makes my heart happy.

Caramel apples – This Friday Five is a continuation of last months favorites. We have a candy shop across from my office that has the most amazing caramel apples. Outside of the normal nutty caramel, they make a chocolate covered salted caramel apple that is my current favorite.

Changing of the leaves – The fall color change has come late to northern Michigan this year. leaves-18051_1280The trees are just beginning to change and we are still looking forward to the fall color season. I can’t wait to see the woods in flaming colors.

Layers of clothes – This may seem like a strange one, but I like wearing layers of clothes along with a colorful scarf.  This time of year, especially in Michigan, the weather you wake up to may not be the weather you go to sleep to. Most definitely keeps life interesting.

Hocus Pocus – I love this movie and am looking forward to enjoying this fall. I have a couple of friends who share this love and we are planning a viewing night along with spooky cocktails. Can’t wait.

These are some of my favorite things about this month. What are yours?

Friday Five: Best Summer Moments

It’s officially fall and fabulous time of the year. Days have been mostly warm with some cold nights. This is the best sleeping weather.

Summer is such a short season I thought I would dedicate a Friday Five list to some of my favorite moments of the summer:

1.   Papa and Caleb building a climbing wall. The little man had such a good time building and then climbing on the swing set his mom played on when she was little.


2.   Camping in Northern Michigan during mayfly season. It was, at the very least, an interesting trip.

3.   Taking the time to watch the sunset in the middle of all the busyness.


4.   I was chosen by this little beast for a forever home. Pippa has been a nice addition to our lives. She provides much needed comic relief.


5.   Just these two.

  
I can’t wait to see what the next season brings.

Happy Fall!

What were your favorite moments of summer?

Friday Five: September Favorites

leaves-18051_1280

Fall is my favorite time of year for lots of reasons. For many years, I looked forward to September mostly because it was back to school time, both for me and my kids. Though I’m not in school any longer, I still look forward to fall and September for other reasons:

1. The weather is often cooler – In Northern Michigan, August is normally the hottest month while September tends to have more ups and downs. For the most part, things are simply more comfortable. By the end of the month, our wood stove is usually started and things are much more cozy.

2. Back to School Time – Although I am not in school, the supplies are still on sale, and, I can stock up on all of my favorite office supplies.

3. The colors are beginning to change – The trees are beginning their yearly process of shedding their leaves. Throughout the month of September, the change is often gradual and by the end of the month, the trees are full of color. The beauty is wonderful to see.

4. It’s apple season – Apples, and all things associated, are bountiful this time of year, though October is more traditional for them. Heading to the local apple orchard for code and donuts is one of the best things about fall.

sunlight-867222_12805. Crisp mornings – Since I am so often up very early, I am able to experience
the cool, crispness that marks fall. Watching the sun rise over a lightly frosted field gives me a feeling of coming home. I’m not sure how else to explain this feeling of contentment I have during these moments. These mornings are my favorite time of day.

I know that September marks the beginning of some not as good things, though there is something good in every season, including the season of snow. But, stopping for this moment and enjoying each day as it comes is simply a part of life. I’m learning to take the good stuff with the bad, for there are always two sides.

What are your favorite things about fall?