My youngest child went to kindergarten.
The only creatures in my house, aside from some unnamed and unwelcome fruit flies, are me and my cat, Doyle. I sit here at my desk and listen.
I like the quiet.
I can hear the whir of the computer fan. There are some birds outside, doing exciting bird things. My chair creaks as I lean back and focus on the sounds around me. The clock ticks. There is a stillness in the house that is strange and new.
It has been seven years since there was quiet in my house.
It has been seven years of mayhem and bedlam. Even when the littlest was off at preschool, there was a manic pulse of action, rushing to get to pick-up, trying to cram a day’s worth of writing and housework into two hours. I never once sat and listened. But today, my ears are open.
The house suddenly feels massive, a giant all-encompassing monolith of empty rooms filled with dust. I seem to shrink as the space around me expands. I am drowning in oxygen, the air that has been filled with the cries and laughs and drama of small humans settles around me, empty. I sip my breath, tasting the new world.
I had expected there to be echoes. Surely, the cacophony of childhood would linger in the walls, muffled but present, a hushed reverberation of demands and tantrums and snuggles. I was not prepared for the calm. I am caught unready.
Just as the kiddos’ journey takes them out into the regulated chaos of school, mine leaves me here in a familiar place transformed. In this field of newfound peace, I am going to reshape my days to tackle new work, new challenges. I will bend and flex as I discover the potential of this quiet.
In this moment I am alone with my thoughts and my cat. Beside my teacup is a notebook full of flurry, actions to take, errands to run. In another moment I will pick it up and plan my day, a bursting campaign of daily life. But just now I will sit in the silence and listen.