A slower pace of life under the white oleander bush

Whether it comes naturally to me or not, the pace of my life as of late has slowed way down. I've noticed that a lot of my day is very quiet without the sounds of music or television accompanying me--only the faint tinkling sound of a cat's bell as one of the kitties stirs between naps. A few years ago I used to fill my life with a lot of recorded music--usually very bouncy loud dance tunes with the bass turned up for optimal booming. But now... not so much.

When I first realized this shift in my habits I immediately thought, "Oh no! This is the first sign that I'm getting old!" I even asked Hubby, "What's wrong with me?!?!"

Then upon more reflection I've concluded that I've actually come around full circle to a pattern I had as a small child when we lived in a remote community of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. When the weather was cooperative and warm enough, my life had a similar pace as it does now. And my days were spent in blissful solitude as I roamed around our wooded property or basked in the clear mountain sunshine in our wildflower meadow. In silence, I would sit with the high grasses around me and watch butterflies flit from blossom to blossom. Every rustle or movement caught my attention and I would quietly look in the direction of the sound to see what it was--an elk, a jay bird or another forest creature. It was only during the cold inclimate months that I came inside and occupied my time with music from scratchy records played on my portable record player.

With my health limitations changing my current pace of life, I'm finding myself feeling the same sense of freedom I had as a child and the permission to just simply be. Daily, I venture out into the garden but now it isn't to do some major garden installation. I wander around and note the slight nuances of change as the garden goes through its seasons. I notice where some critter has visited since I last strolled through. Every rustle or movement draws my attention, and I'll look in the direction of the sound and wait until I can identify what it was.

Did you know that creatures in nature have what I call a "time out period"? When they sense human presence they scatter and become very quiet. But if the human settles in and becomes still and quiet, in about ten minutes nature's creatures come back and resume their activities as if the human isn't there. It happens with skittish fish in the water as well as the birds in the trees. Ten minutes of quiet stillness is all it takes and suddenly it's as if you're not even there.

Sitting in my chaise lounge under the wisteria, I've noticed the branches of the 50+ year old white oleander bush have grown enough this year to create a lovely canopy over my head. Periodically, a dried white blossom flutters down on me as I sit enjoying the splashing sound of the pond waterfall.

So many magical moments have happened under the white oleander.

I've had the wonderful honor of encountering the grey fox two more times since the night of the summer solstice when I first saw it. One of the encounters last week was before the sun had set and it was still "golden hour" in the garden. The fox made eye contact with me as it trotted casually through the thicket created by the oleander bush and the cherry tree. Because it was light outside and the fox wasn't in much of a hurry, I could see the beautiful nuances of its ticked fur, its long fluffy tail and the details of its exquisite face and eyes.

I'm relearning the pace I loved as a child. I'm realizing that slower and quieter pace brings with it an innocence and simplicity that fosters a calmness of one's inner core. That calmness is somehow sensed by nature. And nature rewards that calmness with incredible moments that require no soundtrack and no words. They are heavenly moments when the Creator feels closer than ever.
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  1. I am there with you sitting under that oleander.....

    Wonderful ice tea that you have made, can I have the recipe please.

    Oh look a wisp of a tail, could it be the fox?

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  2. This is one of those times when you WANT to hear the crickets! I'm glad that you are rediscovering YOU! It's wonderful to be comfortable with yourself.
    Love you.

  3. I felt myself calming down as I was reading your essay. Thanks for posting that.

  4. I feel quieter and more calm after reading this! Our house, inside and outside, is also a very quiet place ... no TV or radio until evening. The car, however, is another story. When I'm driving by myself, I tend to blast the music ... and I have blown the sub-woofer in the last two of my cars. Today's play-list included my most recent favorite group, Maroon 5 ... "One More Night" is guaranteed to get you moving.

  5. Your last paragraph says it all and I couldn't agree more.


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