Dear Friends ~ The shaded spot along the creek where water pools between rock slabs revives us in the thick of muggy July. The kids quickly toss their shoes aside; The eleven-year-old picks her way across the stream to check on crayfish who lurk beneath the tiny cascades, and her younger brother returns to his dam-in-progress. They no longer require a steadying hand on the slick rocks or engineering advice like in past summers, so I perch on a nearby boulder with a novel instead.
"Do you think a dinosaur ever drank this water?" my son mused on a recent visit to the creek.
His big sister (our budding geologist) piped in, "Actually, the Appalachian Mountains are older than any dinosaurs. They formed before Pangea even broke apart, which means they're even older than the Atlantic Ocean!"
We all paused to fathom something so ancient (480 million years, according to the biologist Alex Petrovnia—100 million years before land animals). How utterly strange, I reflect inwardly, to rest on a boulder that possibly predates mammals while wondering how many more summers my growing kids will make this trip to the creek with me. Strange to watch water that once lapped the shores of a supercontinent run between their toes. (Those toes went up two shoe sizes in less than a year, by the way.)
Time is marked by such contradictions: It moves swiftly and slowly. It is both vast and immediate. In that tension is an invitation to drop what the poet Ted Loder calls "anxious scurrying"—to remain as watchful as a prehistoric boulder by the creek and as enthusiastically present as a child hunting crayfish in a murky pool. ~ Joy
Outward silence is indispensable for the cultivation and improvement of inner silence.