When Summer Speaks

When Summer Speaks

by Sophfronia Scott August 09, 2017 1 Comment

Recently, on a summer afternoon in July, I lay on the long, cushioned window seat in our family room and fell asleep. I didn’t intend to nap. I’d been sitting there reading and looking out over my lilac bushes and down the road. But at some point, the warmth of the day and the tiredness from a busy week dropped over me, and I closed my eyes.

When I awoke, I didn’t feel inclined to move. I stayed nestled against the throw pillows and watched the white clouds glide by. The breeze made the leaves whisper.

It was so quiet.

The birds, chatty first thing in the morning, seemed to be elsewhere. Or were they napping too? In the distance, the caw of a crow but nothing more.

I recognized this quiet. Just as there are recognizable voices, there are certain kinds of familiar quietude. The voice of a summer afternoon is draped in a light wind and the sound of my own breath traveling the same low frequency. Even the roar of lawnmowers far away are couched in this softness.

I first heard this voice during the summers of my childhood. Back then, the sound included the playback announcers of the Cleveland Indians baseball game my daddy would be watching on television. Somewhere between the crack of a bat and the notes of the stadium organ I’d fall asleep. Someone, most likely my oldest brother, would, at Daddy’s suggestion, pick me up and put me on the bed to finish my nap in the room I shared with my sisters. When I woke up, I felt this same disinclination to move. I’d gaze at the dust motes floating through the shaft of sunlight beaming through the curtains. I’d listen. Maybe the ball game was still on, but mainly I was listening to the quiet. It fascinated me.

This quiet, then and now, makes me feel like I’m cupped in the palm of a hand. But who is holding me? Is someone beyond the summer speaking in this silence? I’m not sure it matters—not as long as I keep listening.

I could easily talk about this being a moment of deep meditation, of hoping to communicate with God, of being grateful for the sky and trees and coneflowers, laid out like a banquet before me outside my window.

But I’ll be honest. In this quiet I don’t think about anything. I lie and rest in the nothingness.

I will say now how grateful I am that as a child I was able to be still enough to hear this voice. I’m even more grateful I recognize it now as what I’d heard before, and can write about it here.

When summer speaks, there is nothing more than its quiet, nothing deeper—just the moment, the now. It is enough to know it, to cup it in my hand, even as I myself am being held. It is enough, this quiet. It is enough.

------

Photo by Daniel Chen on Unsplash




Sophfronia Scott
Sophfronia Scott

Author

SOPHFRONIA SCOTT lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut where she continues to fight a losing battle against the weeds in her flowerbeds. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing, fiction and creative nonfiction, from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her latest novel is Unforgivable Love (William Morrow/HarperCollins). She has a forthcoming spiritual memoir, This Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Child in a Secular World, co-written with her son Tain, from Paraclete Press (December 2017), and an essay collection, Love’s Long Line, from Ohio State University Press/Mad Creek Books (February 2018). Sophfronia teaches creative writing at Regis University’s Mile High MFA and Bay Path University's MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Her website is www.Sophfronia.com.



1 Response

Candace Armstrong
Candace Armstrong

August 24, 2017

This morning I wrote this haiku:
Be aware of now.
Today becomes tomorrow.
Spirit is always.
Perhaps the end of summer brings us up short with the awareness of the precious present time. There’s something about the long days that lulls us into peace.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Ruminate Blog

Maps without Us
Maps without Us

by Guest Blogger January 18, 2018

For my mother, the directions were gospel; for my father, suggestive. He would stare at the highlighted segment of roads, and then improvise to find alternative routes to our destination. Ones that might take us closer to a historical site or through a “scenic byway.” To my father, the maps could be both guide and reference.

Read More

You Must Change Your Life
You Must Change Your Life

by Angela Doll Carlson January 16, 2018

 I must change my life, I thought. Is this what Rilke meant? That I should “get healthy?” I should eat better, drink better? I jumped to this conclusion in the aisle at my grocery store.

Read More

On Having a Baby in the Age of Climate Change
On Having a Baby in the Age of Climate Change

by Guest Blogger January 11, 2018 3 Comments

I've had climate change anxiety since college, but bringing a baby into the universe intensifies it. My anxiety no longer only extends the length of my lifespan. I tell my husband Taylor I regret having a child because I can't stand the thought of Jackson in pain. He holds up our son’s wiggly, plump body. "You really wish he didn't exist?"

Read More