I spent over four hours yesterday sitting alone. Sunday morning was the usual busy and fun time at church, our little congregation bolstered by the presence of 140 teens in the city with a group called 'World Changers'. These folks had come from all over the place, including New York, Virginia, and Florida, to spend a week around Ottawa helping people in practical ways - house fixups, minor construction. Very cool.
Then at 3:00, I went down to the creek, set up a camp chair and umbrella, book in one hand and water in the other, and mounted guard over a bonfire. The pile of scrap wood will not go away on its own, and since we have not been adding to it much recently, I did make a dent. I was there, mostly alone, until supper time when D brought down a picnic, and then stayed after the others left for an hour more.
There are sounds only heard when one sits alone for so long. It's as if nature is shy until you sit quietly enough to assuage her fears, then she feels like she can tell you some secrets. There was, of course, the crackling of the fire and the hiss as wood slid down into the ashes. Another constant was the light burbling of the brook. Not the rush of its high-water days, but a gentle sound as it hopped over the rocks at the ford. A robin flew in and had a delightful bath in the shallows. The tall grass swished as the wind blew through it. Birds whose calls I didn't recognize sang out their chirps to each other. No words to complicate it. It was, in a word, peaceful.
My walk back to the house in the gathering dusk was one of some satisfaction. I looked at our little house, the freshly-mown grass looking green-gold and tidy as the sun hit it at the perfect angle, my veggie garden growing happy and healthy, the front field's grass (sorghum wheat, I think the farmer said) backlit and lovely, the old maples looking as stolid and respectable as such trees should.