Tag Archives: Quiet

What I Dreamed About in the Quiet Room in the Attic

28 Jul

I have come to the quiet room in the attic to write. It smells of books and old wallpaper, and I feel as if I am in my own private library. The desk is directly underneath the window and I gaze sleepily at the shimmering leaves of the giant trees in front of the house. There is a strong wind today and, despite being discontented about yet another grey day, I am soothed by the soft whisperings of the birches.

Apart from a desk and a bookshelf, the room has nothing to distract attention. No-one passes through here and it will be a while until the others realise where I am. I have all the time in the world. I prop my head up with my hands and dream out of the window.

The pine tree is covered in tiny drops of rain, which it has not managed to shake off with the wind. The small birch is waving frantically at its elder, who is so tall and elegant, that only her head and shoulders show sign of movement. The fir tree, with its three-meter branches, is still; its peaceful breathing suggests that it is at rest.

I observe these friends; we have known each other since childhood and I have got so used to seeing them that I no longer pay much attention to them.

I get up from the desk and walk over to the bookshelf, on which a random collection of books has been growing for the past fifty years. History, art, fiction, crime, biography, and even a stamp collection, can be found here, all with yellowing pages and fading covers. One book catches my attention and I take it off the shelf: Matilda Kshesinskaya – Memoirs. I was thinking about her only last week, funny how I should discover her autobiography in the quiet room of my family home.

I look at photos of Matilda in her various dance roles, and my thoughts wander over ballerinas and their hard work and discipline. Over their perseverance, their talent and their elegance. Over their strength of character, their mysteriousness and their beauty. They possess a wealth of exemplary qualities and, as I flick through the pages and bring my nose closer to the paper to inhale the smell of this old book, I remember a quote that I once read and have never forgotten:

“God gives talent. Work transforms talent into genius.”
~ Anna Pavolva

One day, perhaps, I will have the wisdom of a ballerina…

How to be Still?

21 May

How to be Still
When the Earth is spinning?

How to be Still
When Time is running?

How to be Still
When moments are passing?

How to be Still
When thoughts are racing?

Photo Friday – Quiet Place

6 Jan

Quiet Place

Sitting in a Quiet Room Alone

21 Jul

All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone. ~ Blaise Pascal

Time. How little we have of it. I only truly understood this a few days ago, when I realised that I only have four full days left in my ‘new’ home and in my ‘new’ life until a whole new phase will begin. With a month of travels just around the corner and a new job (or no job) waiting for me when I get back, it looks like this is the end of a small, but still significant era.

Half a year has gone by since I moved to my new country, yet I feel like I am only starting to settle in. The sudden realisation that I will be leaving soon made me realise that I don’t really want to leave. Is there any other place that I could love more than here? I found myself asking.

Yes, I love this new life. I love the plants on the balcony, the coffee in the morning, the magazines on the kitchen table, the notebooks on the bed, the wine in the evening, the silence, the trees around the house, the long car journeys, the siestas, the lazy afternoons, the spontaneous ideas for meals, the new-found pleasure for baking, the week-ends at the beach.

Simplicity.

The thing I love most about this new life, and the thing that scares me most about it. Simplicity is not something I was taught to ‘aim for’, simplicity is not a quality that I have heard a lot of praise about, simplicity has never been coined sexy. Simplicity must surely be like love – you don’t know what it is or how important it is until you experience it.

Freedom.

Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to be. No one to impress, nothing to prove, no statements to make.

Time flies by. Life is never as we expect it.

In mid-June I jumped into the cool sea and couldn’t believe that a whole summer of sun and sea was waiting for me. A month later, and I have only been to the beach a few of times and I’m still as white as an Arctic fox. There are so many things I wanted to do, so many things I wanted to be, gosh, even so many things I wanted to blog about, but somehow, time got there before me.

I did learn one thing though – how to ‘sit in a quiet room alone’. And that’s a lesson worth more than any amount of suntan, right?

A True Moment of Peace

29 Apr

It was a mild and clear evening today; I had dinner on the balcony and decided to stay outside until it got dark. Legs crossed in half-lotus, I sat and watched.

I watched aeroplanes draw pink lines across a blue backdrop. I watched the leaves on the trees wave gently to me. I watched a thin purple cloud spread its thin limbs for the night in a comfortable place in the sky. I watched the wind play hide and seek between the branches. I watched the sky put on its grey pyjamas. I watched the trees fall asleep when the wind got tired of playing with them. I watched pollen float from left to right, as if unable to make up its mind about where to land.

There were sounds too, of course. Leaves whispering secrets to each other before lights out, birds singing lullabies, and dogs tiptoeing outside the house.

As I sat watching and listening, I lost track of time. Was I outside for ten or twenty minutes? Or perhaps I was there for half an hour?

Absorbed by nature, I felt myself extending into its vastness. During this moment, I felt open, still and quiet, just like the trees, the grass and the sky around me. I was meditating without knowing it.

By taking a rare opportunity to observe a tranquil evening, I got a rare experience in return: a true moment of peace.