At Home with Quiet
Writers should feel at home with quiet. Right? “Shhh… be quiet I’m writing.”
Quiet allows thoughts to be clearly heard, and then laid down in an alphabet of sounds for readers to “hear”. Quiet though, sure can be lonely.
Here’s the thing. Not all writers are introverts preferring more quiet lives. Besides, even introverts need the companionship of others. COVID-19 has put a screeching halt on physically meeting in social groups. A common go-to solution, Zoom is…well, not “zoomy”. Screen glitches, sound lags, poor lighting…make ineffectual, non-human connections. Bleech.
I am a writer who happens to be an extrovert. A rare beastie! Home isolation soon ungrounded me. Left me floating in a landscape of walls blocking my exit to freedoms that brought joy. Fortunate then, my experience living in isolation, having spent many childhood summers on a remote farm in northern Minnesota. I soon found myself writing about when I had been at home with quiet.
At Home with Quiet
In the northern farmlands of rural Minnesota
sat Grandma’s sturdy, wooden farmhouse.
Grey, timeworn from a long life
The home where -
Momma grew into a woman was…muted.
from the noise of people and their machines - Ann Marie is the taller girl.
by seas of pastures, oceans of fields, banks of trees
standing strong against the harsh north winds.
Here was a hidden oasis, barely touched by time.
Even into the age electricity - of which it had little.
The lone television received two fuzzy channels.
Isolation had given birth to quiet in this place.
A thunderous quiet.
Or, though it seemed.
After a few days of my arrival,
after a desperate day or two
of discreet dread of the silence,
my ears would adapt.
Instead of the bustling sounds of a city,
I now heard quiet, which wasn’t empty.
No. Quite the opposite.
It held the bountiful, subtle sounds of nature
speaking to each other… and to me.
The pine trees spoke with a different dialect
than the oak trees, the Elms preferred a lot slang.
The house creaked and groaned in a crones voice
to multicultural groups of birds traveling to and fro.
The wind - a spry grandfather, danced a jig one minute,
then moaned about his aching joints the next.
The farm animals were hip to forming choruses.
What a competitive bunch they all were!
We were all us,
Grandma and I, the natural world,
in a kind of quarantine.
Sheltered from the world
of man and machine.
Appreciation grew easy here
for the bountiful gifts quiet held.
A peaceful knowing
of my spirit’s connection with nature was born
in this place where I felt blessedly at home with quiet.
Nature had been my childhood remedy. My cure for loneliness. Mother Gaia’s vast world of flora and fauna - my play companions. Now, well into my fifties during a viral epidemic, I once again found myself seeking out these long-ago companions in the wild, wild out there.
Wild, Wild Out There
Through the windowpane She beckons seductively
like a siren of old calling out on the wind
to come join her out there – the wild, wild out there
where I will be embraced in the splendor of her evolution
be amazed, dazzled, filled with wonder by her beauty
She is forever unapologetic -
it is her nature to be variable with her moods
to experience her joy is pure, divine heaven
melancholy conveys deceptive gloom
and temper tantrums terrify with undreamt hell
if her disposition is one that is… erratic
it is her only flaw and I forgive her
for She is the generous mother to so many
even with me, yes, even with me
from her own body She outfitted my soul
a garment to wear for the seasons I am blessed
to share with her, endeavoring to adapt harmoniously
with her changeable unpredictable ways -
if I am successful
She promises to keep me grounded
for glory of glories, She is my whole world
and when at last I reach my final season
I will return my loaned garment to her
and She; my inspirational mother
shall embrace me in earthy, sweet comfort
one final time
There’s much I still want to do, experience, create! A RUDE interruption of my plans arrived in full force this past October. COVID-19 pruned me, wounded me with an aggressor’s brutality. The assault left me bedridden for two weeks, battling dehydration, extreme body pain, an unending fever. My bed sat three feet from double glass doors looking out over aged trees, busy squirrels, the sky. Every day, my neighbors chickens sung with plucky clucks – how grateful I was for their songs. Nature’s bounty gifted me resilience in a time of great need.
I went out and hugged a few trees yesterday.
The poor things had been pruned,
their wounds still fresh with sawdust.
I told them they were precious.
To stand strong after their assault.
“Please seek to allow this trauma,”
“help you grow tall. May it strengthen
your resolve to claim your space
on this ground we each call ‘home’.”
How I empathized with the trees.
Siblings of divine creation.
We each of us face attacks in life,
from saws, wars… viruses.
Let not this battering beat our spirits down!
May we instead, all stand robust,
resilient ever more to claim our space
on this ‘home’ ground.
More resilient than ever, I seek always to live in mindful awareness and harmony with “the neighbors”. Mother Gaia’s flora and fauna. Those pesky humans, too.
Finding peace with the quiet, I became a very prolific creator and writer. My first chapbook co-authored with Beth Turner Ayers titled, Poetic Progression, is now on Amazon. Our dialogue poetry was written during three quarantined weeks in April. I moved with my husband to Idaho in September. Here in the rugged northwest, I walk daily upon a new landscape in conversation with nature.
Best of all, extrovert I am, I found a way to keep telling stories and poems to audiences of listeners all over globe. How? I recently created a YouTube channel called, Oopsy Annie.
That’s me. A joyful wanderer in this “oopsy” world! A world where the unanticipated is part of all our lives, and can if we accept it, provide inspiration, gratitude and joy. My goal with each short video, is to share gratitude and playful joy with the viewers. Check it out!
May you too discover the unexpected gifts “oopsy” COVID-19 brings these quiet days of isolation. We control so little, except what we create for ourselves. There great, individual power exists. Gratitude medicine is a miraculous, homeopathic remedy we each can make. Writing too, is powerful medicine for this time. Self-expression is its most potent.
Mind you, while I’m making the most of being at home with quiet, if life gets socially lively again… well, I’m good to go. I’ll just need to freshen up a bit, dust off the make-up, and I’m out the door! Joy wins, either way.
Written by Ann Marie Newman (Oopsy Annie), December 20, 2020