The Quiet

On the four a.m. drive into the bakery I usually turn a song on via Spotify and play it on repeat until I reach the parking lot and turn the car off. Somehow, in the darkness and soft rushing of my singular wheels on the asphalt, the presence of the music is calming. I made good memories in a bakery in Bar Harbor when I was working there two mornings as week as the bagel-maker. I felt known, protected by the music playing only for me over the speaker. Music filled the room and lifted to the ceiling and I realize that in those two hours, I loved myself.

But yesterday, on the four a.m. drive, I resisted the instinctual urge to hit play, and I drove to work in relative silence—I still heard the hum of my car engine, and the wheels. But there was nothing else.

No, that’s not true. I heard my thoughts.

I am always thinking. I listen to my thoughts pretty often, but yesterday it struck me that my decision to turn on music—and whatever mood it evokes—is probably an attempt to either drown my thoughts out and replace them with others, or enhance the thoughts/feelings I already have. I rarely just sit back and look at, notice my thoughts.

Is this goal to notice what’s inside me. . . like meditation? Is that meditation’s purpose? To sit still and notice what comes at us? (As if we, as persons, are separate beings from our thoughts? As if we can take our thoughts and choose yes, no, or ask “hm, what are you doing in my head?”) I’m not a meditation expert by a far, far stretch, but I’m intrigued by this concept of rejecting or accepting what comes into, or already lives in our heads. I want to begin a “quiet project”—because yesterday I felt driven to sit in silence. I knew without a doubt that it would be good for me.

Friends, keep me accountable. Remind me to be friends with the quiet.