When I was young
I would sit on my lawn for hours at a time
wasting summer afternoons
staring at the wind brushing over the grass
and soaking up the sun
breathing- storing up warmth
to brave the ice cold winds inside my house.
Now I work all summer
using old memories as a coat in the freezing office.
My new neighbor is an old aging philosophy major,
I can tell,
even when he’s stuffed into a suit most days.
I’ve seen him sitting cross-legged
on the air-conditioner outside our apartment building
pondering random afternoons.
I used to stare at him,
I imagined he was scanning the landscape of our quiet Midwestern lives
for some real silence,
but he caught me,
one day as I was walking by, he was inviting,
and so while I’ve spent years teaching this shy child to speak,
I sat
with him
in silence.
I’ve never meditated, I said,
and he said I shouldn’t try,
so I just looked
and saw
and then I cried.
I hated to cry, but that silence was so God-awful,
and the sun was blinding,
and the fan beneath us was whirling,
and while I was used to tuning out the world,
Suddenly, I realized I couldn’t even really hear it.
I realized was hardly even in it.
And I just knew,
those stupid hands of his were open to a world I didn’t know,
where little cloud-filled Buddhas danced in his head,
and his fingers looped into transcendent heart beats…
and for a minute or two, I was sure he was just a sound I couldn't be.
So this afternoon,
I left work early to beat the traffic and I drove to the park.
I wanted to be able to hear my own heartbeat beating,
to lay under a tree, and see the wind weaving,
releasing the sound of rustling from the leaves, freeing.
And while I’ve always preferred this time
for retreating, I was shocked to find,
my world is too loud
for after noon