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Women growing older with grace and gusto | Pilgrim's Moon

Of bats, quiet, and a full moon

Full moon

Last night was the long awaited Friday 13th full moon.

I’ve been so conscious lately of the sheer noise of life. By which, of course, I don’t mean only physical noise, although there’s plenty of that. There’s so much pressing in on us, so many day-to-day demands, terrible things happening in the world that simultaneously frighten us and in demanding our attention and action serve only to make us feel powerless.

I wonder if, as we grow older, we yearn more and more for longer spaces of “cool, quiet and time to think” (from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song Passionate Kisses).

Last night was a good time for cool and quiet. I celebrated it in a number of ways.

First, candlelight, incense and poetry:

Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
Great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
Rumbling in the wind,
Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . .
Full-lipped flowers
Bitten by the sun
Bleeding rain
Dripping rain like golden honey—
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.

Storm Ending, by Jean Toomer

And then at 10 p.m. I went to sit outside in the garden, with my cat, in the near darkness (because of course as we in the North swing ever higher in the circle towards the longest day, the darkness isn’t quite total).

I took in great gusts of scent from the subtly different greens of the plants and of the air, charged and fresh after a brief shower of rain. I felt the nubbly wood of my chair beneath my fingers. I listened to the faint sounds of distant traffic, the shuffling of some small unknown animal in the undergrowth. I saw the faint fluttering of tiny moth bodies around the tops of my gloriously overgrown bramble bushes.

Then: black against the dark sky I saw a small, fast-wheeling shape. You know, I’m 60 years old and never before in my life had I seen a hunting bat. It was a glorious feeling. I watched it come and go for an hour, keenly aware that because of it, there were sounds in the air well beyond the range of my human hearing.

That awareness of things beyond my human senses stayed with me as I stood, stretched my arms to the sky and felt my bare feet rooted in the ground. I slept very soundly, comforted by  the moon and the bat and the quiet.

How do you invite quiet into your life?

Full moon photo: Rachel Kramer

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