A moment of meditation

When I was younger, I had a special spot in our house that was my little private escape. It was the windowsill of our spare room, which looked over our cul-de-sac and, in the distance, gave a lovely view of the South Downs.

I would take myself off to this spot sometimes just to sit and think and look out of the window. This was usually at dusk, which was – and probably still is – my favourite part of the day. I loved to see the colour of the sky changing over the hills as day turned into night. I loved how still everything would become, as if the world was preparing for sleep just like me. I loved to lean out of the window and smell the night air, especially on a hot summer’s evening when the faint fragrance of flowers and pine reminded me of holidays abroad.

And I would have to write it all out. My diary must have been filled with endless pages of descriptions of dusk. If I read them now, I would probably smile at the earnest efforts of an 11 year old budding writer. Whole paragraphs were devoted to the nuances of pink and purple in the sky and the shadows forming on the Downs, as I tried to find exactly the right words to capture the magical feeling I had as I sat there. (No doubt borrowing heavily in style from whatever book I was reading at the time!)

I was reminded of all this earlier this evening. With the husband out and ToddlerGirl sleeping peacefully, I stepped out onto our back porch on my way to the kitchen. I could hear the sounds of cars in the distance, the pop of balls on some nearby tennis courts and the last few birds tweeting their way back to their roosts for the night. Behind all this, though, I could feel the same stillness that used to captivate me so much as a child. I sat down to soak it up, letting my mind clear completely for a few minutes.

I’m not usually very good at turning my thoughts off. This is probably why I suffer occasionally from insomnia. Meditating is beyond me, as I find it impossible to stop my inner voice sneaking back in as I am trying to relax. But, sitting outside, sensing the dusk deepening around me, I could feel calm spreading over me. My thoughts were silenced for a few moments at least and I was perfectly content to just sit there for a while, not doing anything.

Not doing anything. That’s a luxury I don’t have very often these days running around after a hyper toddler. Even during my downtime, the temptation is to multitask – checking in on my phone or laptop at the same time as watching some evening TV. Or reading a book in bed until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.

Life can be so crowded but there is something very cathartic about simply stopping it all, however briefly. Enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the dusk after a warm summer’s day.

Maybe my 11 year old self was onto something that I have forgotten in my busy adult life…


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