VACATION & PEACE
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
September 1, 2022
I love Vermont. I love the combined scent of pine, maple, and cedar trees that seem to sweeten the oxygen. It makes purposeful breathing pleasant. It’s easy to relax in a place like eastern VT … unless you’re in a house with six adults, two dogs, and five children ranging from one to seven years old. It was a busy trip. It was a loud trip. It was a fun trip.
At one point on day two, my main squeeze pulled me aside and said, “I love that sound.” My mind was running a marathon at the time. Thoughts of “What are we eating for dinner?” and “Where are the dogs?” were percolating. When he made the statement, I had no idea what he was referring to. I looked up at him like a deer in the headlights. “What sound?” I uttered.
He gently said, “Shhhhh. It’s my favorite sound. Just listen.”
I immediately put my racing mind on pause. I closed my eyes and I listened. I heard some birds tweeting. I heard some boats passing. I heard some bugs chirping. And then I heard some wind slowly rustling the leaves of the trees surrounding us. I opened my eyes and looked up at him, “Which one?”
“I love the sound of the wind rustling through the trees. It’s my favorite sound.”
I was reminded on more than one occasion this summer to be present. To put life on hold for a few brief moments and just appreciate what’s around. I tend to get carried away as a homeowner, a pet-owner, and a mother of two with the things that need to be done. But often the most meaningful moments happen in between those things, when I put my racing mind on pause, close my eyes, and listen.
I can’t help but think back to the promise I made myself in January of this year. I promised to be more discerning with my time. At first, I thought the promise was about managing my time more efficiently. Then – as my promises usually do – it evolved. And I discovered I also had to be more discerning with myself – with my emotions and my thoughts. But now – the evolution has continued – and I also think to be discerning with my time, I also have to pause and be present.
As author Oliver Burkeman says, “What you pay attention to will define, for you, what reality is.” And my reality is the peaceful sound of the wind rustling the leaves, standing next to a man who balances me out, loves me for me, and fills my days with wonder. A blended family of people who want to be together for peaceful moments as well as the busy chaotic moments.
This is my reality. This is what I will pay attention to.