Yesterday was a stressful day. I had way too many projects to juggle, so much so that I felt like my brain was going to explode. I came home from work in need of serious stress relief. After dinner I went outside to chill out. What a gorgeous evening! I sat in my favorite lounge chair, lit some candles, took a deep breathe, and inhaled the sweet scents of all of my flowers. The crickets and cicadias were buzzing, my waterfall gently trickled over the rocks, and all was right with the world. It was cool and comfortable, no humidity. Then my neighbor's air conditioner turned on.
The sudden noise startled me and broke my reverie. Damn! Open the windows my friend, and take some gulps of this wonderful air. I hate noise. I grew up next to Rt. 84 in West Hartford and lived with the sound of the highway all my young life. Even when I had 37 acres in Vermont, the neighbor mowed his gigantic lawn all day long when I was camping there. It's hard to find silence.
I live in a flyway for airplanes. My late, great neighbor Bill studied the flight patterns and when he was hanging out on our deck having a beer on summer evenings and a plane would go by he would look up and name the flight and where it was headed. Sigh. Just my luck. If you do sit outside and pay attention, you will probably notice the sound of airplanes on a regular basis, no matter where you live.
Many years ago I was in Arizona visiting an ancient native American site. I was surprised to find this sacred place right next to a highway in the middle of a busy business district. I asked our guide if it bothered him. He looked at me very seriously and said that the site existed long before the city grew up around it. He told me he accepted the surrounding noise. He was centered, focused, and totally inhabiting the space he was in. It was a lesson I have never forgotten.
With that in mind, last night I decided to try and hear the waterfall and the crickets and smell the phlox and night scented jasmine and fragrant hostas and try and tune out the noise. I wandered out to the courtyard where I slowly walked the labyrinth and did yoga when I got to the center. It took total concentration to do this and pretty soon, the noise faded away. An hour later I was totally relaxed and ready to retire to bed, refreshed and soothed by my precious backyard sanctuary.