Wrapped in autumn’s quiet cloak, but still restless

Each new day at Buttonwood is a gift. Autumn is both a season of drawing inward and of expanded horizons. I love nothing more than to sit wrapped in a woolen blanket, enjoying the solitude of my own thoughts. Yet, this is also a time of people coming together, being festive, and anticipating the solstice. Contrasts are good. They make me appreciate the finer parts of each. Contrasts are not good. They distract me from the stillness.

Today’s solitude is one of those contrasts, because I am home from a long weekend in New York City, and what could be a greater contrast to my life here than the bustle of the city? I’ve left most of my city life far behind me, but I cherish visiting with a good friend, laughing ourselves silly and talking ourselves hoarse. This year we visited three holiday markets, and as always, found the Union Square market the most festive and beautiful.

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There is nothing more joyful than colorful lights on a dark night. It’s what we do best at this time of year.

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I have not had an easy time coming into inner stillness this year.  Have I been too restless to find the wisdom that lives deep within the heart? It’s always possible that the serenity of the stillness itself is the only gift.

Little did I imagine that wisdom would arrive with such clarity on a noisy and crowded subway platform.

There were three young men hanging out at the end of the platform, in the narrow section just before the stairs. They were not exactly blocking the way, but they were hanging out with a bit of attitude, in a way that didn’t give us room to pass. I didn’t say anything, but I looked right into the eyes of one of the young men and smiled.

He smiled back at me, and they rearranged themselves so that we could walk to the stairs.

Never underestimate the power of a smile.

With all the tension in the world right now, it is easy to become separated from each other.

A smile can bring us back together.

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