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Suburban Island

Silence is Like a Lava Lamp
Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, 1:32 p.m.

QUESTION: Are there really only 13 shopping days left until Christmas?

WHAT I LEARNED: Quiet is nice.

I'm working from home today. That means I can start earlier and work through lunch. I give myself a break for some microwaved lite beef hot dogs stuffed into the last 2 potato rolls in the house, the final vestiges of chips left at the bottom of the Wow bag, and while doing so take a moment to ponder the peace that falls over a home with kids for only a few sparkling moments only every now and then. That moment is happening right now. I'm enjoying it.

Sitting here at my desk, I see the sun shining so bright it could be summer. If I don't look around but keep on typing then I can forget for an instant the laundry, the dishes, and a thousand other little chores. Decoration not hung, and trees not yet arrived, cards not yet written, and gifts not yet bought are swept from my mind. For a moment I can minimize the window on every work project.

Instead, I can just breathe in the clean, clear, crisp silence for an instant. It's very rejuvenating and I realize that silence is something I rarely experience at this point in my life. It's as fluid and relaxed as snapping on a lava lamp. It's as restful as ocean waves, or rain on a rooftop. If it was a curtain it would be sheer, floating, and with perfect blue skies behind it.

I know it will be banished in short order by a phone call from a telemarketer or the next task on my list. But for now, I am enjoying this tranquility. Everything sounds soft, faraway, and sweet. The intermittent whisper of traffic stopping and starting down the road a ways. The plane passing by high overhead. The hum of the laptop just under my fingers. The heat pump kicking in suddenly.

It's nice to be a working mom sitting for just a moment in this interlude before the next ringing phone, the next person rushing through the door scattering bookbags and coats on the floor as they arrive, the next computer alert tipping me off to another email to answer. I love each of these sounds - car, plane, heat pump, laptop - they are lulling and I wish I could curl up under a comforter for an hour and take the perfect afternoon nap.

It doesn't work that way - as we all know. I have a kid to pick up from school shortly, a work report to write, and a clean sweep project going down in our family room that needs to get done now so that this year's Christmas tree can enjoy a place of honor in the family room on a priority basis. I've got 13 shopping days left before Christmas according to but I think, as I watch the still-green leaves of a rose bush outside my window flutter in the December breeze, that what I've really got is a whole beautiful holiday season spread out before me - after I do the dishes, the laundry, the shopping, and those thousand other chores of course - and I intent to enjoy every merry bit of it. Well, most of it at least.

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