Gentle silence fills the room with the hush of fresh fallen snow and the sigh of the dog when she exhales in front of the fire. Solitude and stillness are gifts I’ve had to learn to receive, and even desire. And, today I’m reminded of my need to surrender to the changing of seasons.
The early morning air inside the house is cool. I’ve pulled on last year’s cuddle duds, my favorite sweaters and alpaca wool socks, yet goosebumps still prickle my skin. The sun will shine bright and warm again, but today my body is not quite ready for the arrival of autumn in Montana. My mind, body and spirit feel like the tall yellow grasses bending under the downy white jackets along the roadside. So, after walking Ebony (who bounds and leaps and snorkels happily, coming up with masks of white), shoveling a path to the door and carrying in an armful of chopped wood, I throw another log on the fire. A pot of coffee burbles and brews while I run a hot bath and commence peeling off the layers.
I reach a big, soft towel, and step in. First toes, then a slow squat before submerging and sliding all the way down until citrus scented bubbles reach my chin. The windows begin to steam so I can hardly make out the fluffy bits of snow swirling about outside like miniature magic carpets from the low-hanging grey. Am I ready to let the activity of the summer go, to transition into this season of harvest, of organizing and reflecting on all the goodness the summer has wrought? Ready or not, it is time to tuck into the sanctuary of creative quiet. Shakespeare dances through my mind:
Sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud,
And after summer evermore succeeds
Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold;
So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
Just yesterday I was out in the yard, trimming back lavender, late blooming daisies, and iris leaves. The strawberry leaves are painted in tarnished oranges and reds. The ivy too. With arms open wide, I twirled in the fluttering rain of golden apple leaves before kneeling and breathing in the smell of damp earth under willows and burning bushes so bright they carry a hue of pink.
My mind turns over the events and friendships of the past weeks: hikes left untried, nights under the stars, the smoke of forest fires. I always want more days to ride bikes, arrange bouquets of wildflowers, or for writing while perched along grassy riverbanks, and laughing over good wine with girlfriends. Because I journal, I have stored away the many delightful moments, as well as the trying and painful ones. Here in the quiet, I am able to hold both before letting them spill through my fingers.
Light pushes through the heavy clouds. Through a smudgy bit of window, I see the snowflakes are smaller now and the sun offers a flirty smile. The day is calling. I stand and release the stopper. Bath water swirls down the drain along with past wishes and unmet ambitions. Shampoo suds slide down my breasts, tummy, my legs, extended toe. Clear water showers over my head, sluicing away the morning’s reverie. I watch droplets of water splash in tiny circles, rain on a miniature lake. Summer is not so far away. I am warmed. I am new again.
Wrapping my head in a towel, I shrug into a chenille robe. “Cares and joys abound,” I say aloud. Still dripping, I make my way to the desk to store away the images of this liminal space before they take flight like snowflakes in October.
 Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II.