The keyword is Quiet.
The keyword is Quiet.
Recommended by the Comrade, highly peaceful and therapeutic afternoon of peanut crunching, tea sipping, and just… talking.
This week, I embark on the last semester of my course.
Before I know it, 2 years – a length of time which once stretched into the (blue) distance, will come to an end. And a new beginning beckons.
In a possible attempt to slow time down, or at least retain whatever fragments of time I can, I’ve started a new personal project: To take regular pictures of the scenery outside my window.
Inspired from the book ‘The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere‘, I also wanted to see how placing focus on something seemingly unchanging could affect my inner world.
Just slightly less than a month into this project, and already I sense a difference in how I feel towards the view I’ve been blessed to have.
I now keep my blinds open for longer hours each day, eager to see what Mother Nature has in store for us with every passing moment. No two sunrises or sunsets have ever been the same. No cloud of the same shape or density have crossed the same space twice. Even the shadows which fall across the houses seem to hint at different characteristics each time. These subtle yet distinct variations of a same place, from behind the same window pane, could be used as an analogy to show how our inner selves are never the same from one moment to the next, as we glide through life, from one fragment of time to another.
Yet, a sense of familiarity is always there. Just like the prominent tree, and the stoic houses which anchor the ever-changing landscape, the entity which we know to be the Self is always constant, there within us.
The Self I am now is vastly different from the Self I was 2 years ago. Yet, I am still Me. And I feel it is only in moments of (sometimes self-imposed) stillness, when I can reach closer to that never-changing Self, the Self I long to return and anchor myself to, as I make my way through this accelerated and motion-filled world.
“The need for an empty space, a pause, is something we have all felt in our bones; its the rest in a piece of music that gives it resonance and shape.”
– Pico Iyer, ‘The Art Of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere’
Sometimes, by a stroke of luck, you come across places so quiet, so seemingly forgotten, that you sigh in pity for the souls on this boisterous and overly-vibrant island who might never come to realise and appreciate such beauty.
But at the same time, you know that it is the very layer of silence and sense of abandonment which gives these places their essence of quaintness and charm. Too many footprints, and the grass will not grow anymore, the birds will leave their nests, and even the sunlight which bounces off our skin might have a different weight.
We are fickle after all.