Quieting My Mind

The Quiet Mind

On a Sunday morning, my mind is quieting while the hum of cars pass on the nearby country road. 

The sun moves lazily into the late morning.

A thin layer of clouds interrupt the blueness of the sky.  Cirrostratus, perhaps?

The slightest breath blows away the noise and brings with it a conversation among birds. 

The only species I know is the peacock at the neighboring farm, impressing us with his call.  We want him to impress us with his dance.

Small birds march forward on the freshly-mowed lawn, picking remnants for nests.

The sun reaches my shaded seat, warming my back as the breeze increases its power.  

The trees add their rustling to the harmony that is quieting my mind.

The sun moves further, casting shade once again.  

My Inspiration

I am writing this free-form poem after a sequence of events that has magnified the cacophony of 2020.  Wildfires.  COVID-19.  Lawful protests.  Unlawful violence.  Political positioning.  Humanness and humanity.

The spring semester brought fresh challenges of transitioning my courses to an online modality.  The junior year of my daughter was cut short — her job as a resident advisor, her role as a college student, her relationships with friends, instructors, co-workers all changed in an instant.  The two-week spring break for her and for me turned into a scramble to understand how to make the remaining weeks of the semester make sense as a student and as a professor.  Her summer job as a resident advisor is no more, so she will do what she can to get ready for fall, spring, graduation, and beyond while living at home this summer.

My high school senior continued working at the veterinary hospital (with the exception of a few weeks laid off) but disengaged from school.  Her personality and special needs require clear purpose for tasks, even more than most people would expect in such a confusing time.  Answer this question satisfactorily – Why do I have to do this assignment?  I tried, unsuccessfully most of the time.  She finished high school with no pomp and circumstance.  She will move on to college with only our family to mark the momentous occasion.  She now has choices she did not have before: her college, her major, her courses, her schedule.  Purpose fulfilled.  She has taught me more about being a teacher and teacher educator than she will ever know.

In the midst of this end to the school year, we moved.  The 8th grader missed the drive-through graduation.  I think he would rather have had anything else from a drive-through pick up than a diploma.  He was only slightly more engaged than the senior.  Perhaps teachers and parents have a little more influence, power, over 8th graders than seniors.  He did the work.  He passed.  Everyone passed the third trimester.  His new start will be in a different school district, not knowing anyone, but he seems okay with that.  It must be easier to move if you’ve been closed off from friends since March 17.

The parents in the household worry about the economy, our livelihood.  We worry about the political climate, the social unrest, the people, the businesses, the first responders.  We live peacefully but know that others do not and cannot.  How we respond becomes a model for our children.

And so I sit in the country, not so quiet with the mowers, birds, and cars, to quiet my mind, to center my focus, to meditate my response with and for the world around me.  My children at home and my students in my classroom depend on my response to be the right one.

One thought on “Quieting My Mind

  1. Twitter is not familiar to me and I was looking for a “like” button. Seeing no other way to respond, I “leave a reply”. Well done.

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