It’s 8:00 am and my eyes are adjusting to the sun outside my window. I am not moving as fast this morning as usual. I don’t respond very quickly in the morning after a night of little sleep.
The wild youthful energy continued to pop and explode late into the night and early morning hours in our neighborhood celebrating the countries birthday. The 4th of July brings so many out into the streets to celebrate and it is hard for them to wind down.
I did my own share of celebrating by wondering a street festival eating and having a drink. We listened to music, sat on a long historic stone bridge over the Mississippi watching streams of people crossing back and forth. Some were looking for the best place to see fireworks, some looking for food or a bathroom, others just parading in their red, white and blue finest. Then before the fire works even began we decided to see if there was a place for another bit of food, something to drink and a bit of quiet.
After walking the length of the riverfront with hordes of beautiful people we finally found a small upscale but old fashioned bar with open seats and windows facing the direction of fireworks. We settled at a table right at the window with a glass of wine and a spinach, spicy chicken flatbread. This is where we and several other bit older folks enjoyed the fireworks. Yeah, there was a tree that was partially block the display. Yes, we did not feel the thunder of each explosion or smell the sharp scent of gunpowder as they were fired into the sky or hear the blaring music of Prince’s tunes.
We did listen to the explosion from a distance, we saw the colors, patterns and joy flash across the sky and mirror itself on the high rise windows across the river. We chatted with others and heard a bit of the music quietly from some ones phone. The word here is a quiet – a quiet celebration.
As I have aged I still enjoy the fun of the festival, the diversity of people, food, music and cultures. But by the time 10:00 pm rolled around I must admit I preferred the rich dark oak table, the muted sounds and the glass of wine while watching the lighted sky.
There is a quietness that I am now comfortable with. I am no longer seeking the thrill of the night, the loud, high energy or the tension of noise, people and activity. I also am not ready to be closed up in my house in bed falling asleep with a book. There is a balance between the two that I look for in my daily life and at times of celebration.
I wonder how that affects my writing, my work and the things that I do daily – that inner quiet that feels right for me now. The quiet of working solo in a garden, doing yoga on the deck in the morning, the quiet of a walk through the woods, the desire to have dinner with a few friends over a large party is interesting to think about.
Marion Dane Bauer was thinking along the same lines this morning in her blog. She comes at it from a different angle having published for many years but still the same question. How does personal quiet influence what we write and do? Check out her blog here.
What do you think? Does age and the want for calm change how or what we write? Does it disconnect us in some way from that youthful energy and tension that children seek when they are reading what we write?
(I know that it really varies writer by writer but an interesting question to ponder.)
I love how you captured the ambiance of your 4th of July. Your questions are interesting and make me think. Lots of thoughts — the energy of the young versus the experience of the older, do we have more to say because of our accumulated experiences? Also I’m a bit jealous of your 4th of July!
This made me smile. Every year we have a fireworks display in the park across the street from our house. We could easily walk across the street and enjoy the display with the crowd. However, we choose to turn off all of the lights in the living room, open the drapes, and enjoy the show from the comfort of our soft cozy chairs.
I like that you speak of balance. As I am now retired I, too, do not want to spend a night (such as the 4th of July Fireworks) alone, reading a book and conking out early….but I do not want to be in the thick of the crowds with the noise and high energy. Your solution is perfect. It made me want to join you and the rest of the ‘older’ group.
Joann, I too am getting used to silence. It’s been hard to create that new habit but so worthwhile. 🙂