The cicadas are singing. Like clockwork, they began trumpeting their end-of-summer tune on the first day of August, just as the first golden walnut leaves drifted to the grass.
Every year, I’m surprised at how swiftly, yet gently, nature makes her moves.
Black-eyed Susans line the pond, and as I walk to the cabin I want to gather a bundle to fill glass bottles on my kitchen sill. But they are so much more beautiful here, where God planted them, with green leaves and blue sky as their backdrop.
I sit on the porch of that cabin, pen in hand, engulfed in the cacophony of cicadas, and yet quiet is all around me. In me. Words that would pierce the quiet are elusive. Silence.
“I’m apt to get drunk on words” said writer Madeleine L’Engle. I know that feeling. There are times when I thirst for them.
But it’s as if I’ve over-indulged. I’ve lost my taste for words.
Words, not thoughts, because my mind is ajumble with so many thoughts, so many questions that fight one another to get to the head of the line.
Of my parents, leaving their home for safer surroundings. Is it truly time?
Of a dear friend walking in her diagnosis of a debilitating illness. “What do we do now?” a loved one asks. “We live,” she says. And I ask God, “Why?”
Of children, sons dear to my heart, who are beginning new adventures, struggling to cope, learning to love. Did we give them enough?
Of tugs at my heart, challenges from my God. ” Would you?” “I’m calling you.” “Are you listening?” Where are you leading me, Lord?
Of prayers for a gentleman whose name I do not know, who loves strong coffee, and who submitted his cancer to surgery this week. Will this treatment be enough, soon enough?
But the words that dissect and intersect with those thoughts? Words that make sense of the cacophony of questions? They fail to come. I want to write answers, impressions, profound thoughts, deep insights. I want it all to roll off my tongue, onto the page, into space. Instead, there is silence.
“The minute we think we have all the answers, we forget the questions,” she said. In her Circle of Quiet, Madeleine declared that standing in the quiet pondering questions with no answers is a perfectly fine, necessary place to be.
I have no answers. Only questions. And so I stand in silence, ponder and wait.