(Michelle is on retreat here, but thanks to the scheduled post feature, she virtually inhabits this space as well. The ability to bilocate used to be considered a saintly characteristic....)
In Kamikatsu — a month ago today — I came down with a serious case of hermitage envy (and not for the first time). Sitting on the tatami on the second floor of Nakamura-san's house, the shoji open, I was drawn to the sound of the wind stirring in the trees, by the insects humming as they went about their work, by the still, centered nature of the place. In that moment I wanted a home that was that simple, two rooms: one to cook and eat, one to sleep and work. I desired a pace of life that was less frantically driven. I longed to let go my grasp, be still and know God.
My guys have gone off on adventures of their own, for the last few days it's been just me and the cat at home, and I found that I've subtly shifted into my typical retreat time zone -- and waded deeply into the silence. This morning, praying the Office downstairs, every window open, the wind stirring in the trees, I realized I no longer envied the life of a hermit. The stillness is here, underpinning the chaos. I don't need to leave to seek it, I simply need to clear enough space to see it occasionally (much like the coffee table - which I also cleared off this week.) Perhaps it is enough to know that such great silence permeates this space, even when I cannot hear it.
That said, I'm off to my retreat proper....