It was a full week and by the end of it, my to- do list cluttered and stuffed my mind. Even as I cooked dinner, I mulled over what I needed to do the following week and tried to devise a plan to get caught up.
Teenaged Daughter was eating supper at her aunt's, so it was just my husband and me. We talked about our days and everything we had going for the upcoming week. He went outside for a bit and came back in just as the food was ready. He smiled and beckoned me to follow him outside. He'd set up chairs and a little area for us to enjoy our meal outside. The weather was gentle and lovely. He put his finger to his lips as we carried our plates out.
I smiled, too. This was going to be a Silent Supper. We enjoy these a few times a year. We eat our meal in happy silence outdoors, letting the quiet declutter our minds and infuse us with serene refreshment. Living far away from towns, major roads, and other houses affords us great peace in our surroundings.
The sun was already low on the horizon and threw streaks of the most vivid orange hues I've seen in a while across the sky. The blues around them deepened as evening eased in.
The jasmine plant, still blooming even in the winter in our warm climate, loaded the air with its enchanting aroma, willing me to take slow, deep breaths.
I looked over at my husband and he was deep in reverie already as he ate. He caught my gaze and winked.
A bit of the sun still hung on to the edge of the skyline even as the first stars shyly appeared. A soft rustling, barely audible, caught our attention at the edge of the pasture that abuts the back yard. A snuffling sound, and then a mother javelina with several babies casually made her way into the back yard. More javelinas followed until a pack of about 12 or 13 headed slowly towards us and our pets' large water bowl, about five feet to my right.
Our stillness was an invitation for them to keep coming until they encircled the water bowl, taking turns and deep draughts of the cool water. The babies were not more than three feet from us as they nuzzled each other and waited for the adults to finish.
A rustling of wings and a scrape on a branch heralded a large hawk as he settled into his roost for the night. Two roadrunners zipped several yards, froze, zipped several more yards and froze, continuing this pattern across the yard until they vanished.
The gathering darkness couldn't hide a small armadillo that skittered into view, so engrossed in his own business of digging a small hole that he took no notice of us or the departing javelinas.
By now, the stars were in full control of the velvety heavens, shining with such clarity that it seemed they could be touched if only I could stretch myself out a little higher.
The silence continued its work. My mind unkinked itself, relaxing and loosening. A gratitude list replaced my to- do list, and I thanked God for all the blessings in my life.
Three rabbits hopped through without a sound, their camouflage of darkness upended by the whiteness of their tails, even as the stars ceded their hold on the skies to the luminous moon.
A small breeze picked up, sending one last gift of the intoxicating jasmine aroma to me as we packed up our chairs and plates.
That sacred silence.