The coming of Fall can bring about more change than the simple turning of the leaves. As I’m layering on the blanket scarves and contemplating woolly socks and ankle boots, my thoughts are turning inward. When the chill sets in, I begin to embrace the the stillness that exists between the adventures of summer and the hullabaloo that is the Holiday Season. It feels like a repose – a time to collect myself.
In this busy life, it’s a rare gift to find moments of peace; where we can rest in stillness, and truly be in the present. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that these “moments” are not the fleeting whims of chance. You can visit Stillness at any time – because it is always there. Although my Monday-to-Friday Self would have a difficult time convincing anyone that I can be a morning person, something about The Great Outdoors triggers my inner clock to wake me with the rising sun. And it’s in the dawn’s early morn that I find stillness most accessible.
The fringe of summer is the perfect time to grab some friends, pile into the car and drive somewhere remote for the weekend (provided you can still bare to sleep outdoors). I cherish early mornings in the woods. While most of my friends are still tucked into their sleeping bags, I groggily start a campfire; a toasty prospect on this chilly morning. Other early risers join me at the fireside and I’m thrilled to learn that they’ve come prepared to make coffee – hallelujah!
We say very little as the kettle is filled with water and we set it atop the fire to boil. It seems no one feels their words can improve upon the silence. And it is beautiful.
Water takes time to boil. There is no way of speeding it up, and there is no reason to rush this morning ritual. The fire darts under the pot. Every bird is calling its neighbour. Wind rustles the canopy of leaves. Everything is active, yet this too is stillness. Without gripping onto the comfort of my bed, or living in anticipation of the coffee to come, I feel free to be in this moment – free of judgment, free of ego. With this awareness, I vow to visit stillness more often.
I’m not sure how long we sat together in blessed silence waiting for the water to boil, or for the coffee grounds to steep and be pressed, but with warm cup now in hand, I drift out of this unprompted meditation to greet the day. And what a lovely day it is.