The past two nights I've fallen asleep at 10:00 p.m., only to wake up at around midnight, still feeling groggy, but having the urge to continue the day's reading, so I read for two to three hours. Both nights I went back to sleep around 3:00 a.m. On the first night, laying In bed I became acutely aware of how quiet it was. The house wasn't gurgling and creaking. I didn't hear cars. I kept trying to imagine how one describes the sound of silence, of this perfectly quiet sound.
The only way that I could do that in my thoughts was to think of all the sounds that I couldn't hear: birds chirping and cawing; the breeze rattling the window blinds and making the trees sing; the neighbors talking, listening to music, the children laughing and crying; cars humming by in the distance; and then I heard one lone bird let out a squawk or squeal. He broke the silence for that one millisecond and the silence resumed.
The second night--last night, as I lay in bed at that early morning hour again, ready for sleep, this time I heard the crickets. I don't hear them often. I took in their music, then they stopped. It was another quiet night, but this time after the restless night continued, I could hear the light wind and feel it on my face.
In the quiet, I could almost hear the beating of my own heart, feel the pulse beating in my hand. I imagined the great night sky overhead, stars twinkling their eyes opened and closed.
Right now it's morning time. I woke at 8:00 a.m., trying to decide if I felt that I got enough sleep. I can hear the absence from the night before. The silence has been filled, but not completely. There's still quiet in the air.
Being in the post office affords me a certain stillness. There's usually a short line. At the main post office, however, the lines are long and you could wait a good 15 minutes before your turn. I always like to look around, observe the people, the notecard sets on the wall, the postal clerks. I have yet to see a speedy postal clerk. They all move at their own slow pace, like they have all day, chit chatting with each other.
The good thing is I don't usually go to the post office in a rush; otherwise, I just might find myself annoyed. But the great thing about seeing people go so slow and calm is that it reminds you that life doesn't have to be a rush. If you go too fast you can miss out on many simple and beautiful moments; they'll slip by like sand streaming quickly through an hour glass and before you've had time to look up, times up–little kernels of sand are gone and where did they go?
Whenever I'm in the post office, I wonder what it would be like to work there. I think I'd like it. I'd like helping people figure out how to fill out the forms for shipping their goods, I'd like to smile and offer them a pleasant experience at my window. I don't know...maybe there are other reasons I can see myself there–or I sort-of want to see myself there. In part I think it goes back to my childhood, but that's a post for another day.
For now, I like the association that I have of the post office: A calmness and sense of slowing down. And the thing is I find myself at the post office a little more now, since I often need stamps–and the reason I need stamps is yet another post for another day, that I've been churning around in my head because I can't decide my angle, where my point of entry is. That's the fun thing about writing: There really are so many modes, so many containers, and ways to begin; and at the same time, sometimes there's so much that it can be hard to decide what to include. I'll jot down small bits as starting points in my Notes App to get something down, and when I have my mind set, I will come back to the notes and maybe use some parts or use them as a reminder or a starting point. It's like keeping these jottings on a writing back burner, simmering away.
About the photo: Recently we took a trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea and I took a photo of the P.O. Boxes on a Sunday when no one was around. Well, one gentleman was coming around the corner, as you can see. I couldn't believe how old these boxes were. It was great. I have a P.O. box locally and it has a key. These look like they unlock by combination. I should have taken more photos and close ups...next time.
Being in the kitchen doesn't always energize me, but yesterday it did. We had planned to go to the local food trucks and have dinner there in the park. It's a nice setup with music. You can bring a blanket, chairs; or just sit directly on the lawn, throw your shoes off and relax. The food trucks draw a good sized crowd crowd, and by looking at all the people and families, you can see their having a nice time and are willing to wait in long lines for their favorite food.
Since I knew I had some time before I left the house to meet hubby at the food trucks, I tried to get a little nap in. Just as I started to nod off, the sound of an incoming text roused me from my slumber. Change of plans: No food trucks, and it sounded like hubby would take care of himself for dinner because he was going to be late; and I would take care of myself.
I wanted so much to just go back to my nap. It was a hot day and my body felt heavy. Instead, I felt inspired to prepare a Peruvian dish that we recently enjoyed at a barbecue. It's a simple, but satisfying dish that was served as an appetizer by my hubby's cousin's cousin's husband: Yukon gold potatoes boiled then cut into thick lengthwise slices that were spread with freshly made jalapeño chile on top.
So I woke myself up and went to the grocery store. I decided I would get a frozen dinner (bad, I know) for myself and hubby could have leftover pasta if he didn't eat dinner out. He could also munch on potatoes and chile.
When I was done grocery shopping, I went home feeling a spark in my step. First, I needed to get that frozen dinner into the microwave because I was very hungry. Next I needed to wash the dishes in the sink. Not my favorite activity, but I kind-of enjoyed the zen-ness of it yesterday.
Everything was in order. I was ready to be happy in the kitchen, replicating this tasty dish. I got the potatoes peeled and into the pot with water.
I love potatoes as it is. With the chile slathered on top, I love them that much more, and they've shown me a new aspect of their personality. I'm excited to look at a couple of books on Peruvian cooking that were available at the library. Something so simple was able to provide the needed spark that I needed and pique my curiosity to explore a new cuisine.
To make the chile, place 10 jalapeño chiles, 2 Serrano chiles , salt to taste, and enough oil to get the ingredients to move in the blender. Puree until smooth, but not liquid. It will have some body. That's it. Simple, fresh, tasty. Serve with cold sliced potatoes or anything else you'd like to top it with. You can also heat the potatoes back up. Either way.
There is also another recipe that he told us about that involves cheese. He didn't prepare that one, so we didn't try it. Different variations can be found on the web.
Having trouble describing the feeling, how it seems as though my cup has been inadvertently emptied and I am new again, a fresh piece of paper with a new pen trying to connect thoughts and feelings. The thoughts are there, they keep reeling by. I watch them. I want to record them, but pen and paper are not connecting with those thoughts. The process hasn't changed, perhaps something inside of me has, perhaps it's been changing--always changing--this time though the change seems to be causing a gravitation away from writing and that feels strange. A part of me wants to go with this change that has been slowly happening for longer than I realize. A part of me wants to start fresh and jump into the ocean and become lost in a new sea, begin again, and reacquaint myself with the words inside my head.