Sitting still

Yesterday I slipped while heading down the stairs and fell squarely on my ankle on a hardwood step. My ankle is swollen and throbbing today, and walking is difficult. I’m on the couch with an icepack and my laptop, trying not to move.

In my daily life, I move almost constantly. When you’re at home with little kids, there is always something to be done: a spilled drink to be wiped up, toys to be put away, or help needed by one child or another. My older daughter complains that I never just sit down with her; my husband complains that even when sitting still, I fidget. Even now as I write, one finger impatiently circles the “L” key, waiting for the next thought, wanting the words to come more quickly.

So I am thinking of ways to quiet my mind and body today. I love James Galvin’s The Meadow for such purposes; the way he describes the Midwest’s wide-open spaces and the slower pace of life of its residents takes any tension down a notch. Today I’m wandering through his collection of poems, Resurrection Update, enjoying the slow, patient breaths of his lines. I love this excerpt from “Navigation:”

Evergreens have reasons 

For stopping where they do,

At timberline or the clean edge

Of sage and prairie grass.

There are quantities of wind

They know they cannot cross.


They come down from the tundra

On waves of ridges and stop,

Staring out over open country,

Like pilgrims on the shore

Of an unexpected ocean.

The sky is still the sky, they know;

It won’t understand ordinary language.

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