The house is quiet for the moment. In a house of ten people and two dogs (including one puppy) quiet during daylight hours will be in short supply around here. Doled out in small measure so we appreciate it like saffron. You know what I mean, don't you? Saffron--that spice that is so ridiculously expensive that half an ounce costs over a hundred dollars. Something that expensive we don't take for granted. We don't waste saffron on frivolous dishes, sprinkling it on our eggs in the morning, our tuna sandwiches at lunch and our hamburger helper at dinner. No, it's meant for the finest of our meals. Meant for special moments.
That's how quiet will be for me this summer. I can tell that already. Our one-lane hallway gets log-jammed in the middle, our table is stretched to capacity, we've gathered chairs from every corner for seats in our living room, and the bathrooms have revolving doors on them. Poor things (and by things I mean both the bathrooms and those who have to take a number and wait in line). But we're learning community. Learning again what life was like when large families lived in homes as small as this day in and day out, year after year. We don't have a large home, you see. Not by any stretch. It has plenty of outdoor space, but when the rain comes (and it does--it did today) and we're clustered inside, it gets a bit crowded. Today, one of Beve's buddies who knows the Finnish brother, stopped by. Then our Chinese girl, who is in town for a few days, also dropped in with her significant other.
Grampie sat in his chair shaking his head, "My gosh, you guys have a lot going on. I can't keep it all straight." And though that's true in an ontological sense, I think every one of us felt it pretty strongly for a while today.
So we kind of retreated to corners. Some Finns to take naps, others to run some errands, Beve to school one last time, and here I sit. Quietly in my living room with the dogs gladly sleeping nearby.
We all relish community but perhaps community works best because we have a bit of the saffron-colored silence now and then, to sprinkle between us. The poet W. H. Auden has a line I've always loved that speaks to this: "I'm talked out, quipped out, socialized so far out of myself, I need the weight of mortal silences to find myself again."
I'll take this moment, breathe it in. And lift off back off into community, flavored with saffron.