I live in a very quiet place. I’m not an early riser, but on the occasions I am up early (and even when I sleep in) I go out onto my lanai that overlooks a canal and sits at palm tree top height. (The palm trees aren’t very old, so I can enjoy this view of their topknots for a few more years before they zoom past me and all I see is trunk.)
I bring out my cup of coffee and a glass of cold water because it’s supposed to jumpstart your metabolism. I think the coffee does more than the glass of cold water. In fact, I am sure of it.
Before the sun peeks over the horizon, the canal is very still. It truly works as a mirror, reflecting the piers and the boats on their davits and the palm trees and as the sun turns on its charm, the clouds that are now visible in the sky.
Some mornings I listen to the annoying buzz of lawn mowers and edgers, far too early to be making that kind of noise. But then I relent in my head because I know the earlier the guys can start, the less time they’ll have to spend in the killing mid day sun. It never takes them long to mow a yard. The machines are big, cutting a wide swath and the men are efficient.
Most days, especially very early, there’s only the very distant hum of traffic. The frogs are still sleeping. As the sun inches up, the osprey, who likes to sleep on the mast of my neighbor’s boat, ruffles himself awake and cries out to let everyone know he’s up. Apparently, he’s a very important osprey and the other birds need to know when he is awake. The mullet get more active, too. I hear the loud PLUNK as a mullet flies through the air and then smashes down into the water again. Sometimes they’ll skip across the canal like a flat stone, 3 or 4 hops in a row. Darwinism in action.
I can hear the lizards scuttle up the dry trunks of the palms. There’s a mockingbird here (maybe more than one, frankly they all look alike) who imitates the sound of a car alarm going off – the three different signals in rotating sequence. I am a little sad that of all the human sounds to latch on to, it picked up on that. But then, it’s a mockingbird. Perhaps it imitates the car alarm to showcase our folly in putting alarms on our cars but not on ourselves. Still, I’d be more impressed if it let loose with some Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
I’m an introvert by nature and this place suits me well. There are days I don’t unlock my front door. I am happy in my little nest. Sometimes I think I should get out more, meet people, build a social life like the one I left behind. But there’s a huge freedom that I have found in not being sociable. I no longer have to be polite to people I don’t like and who really aren’t nice people (like the jerk who always grabbed the waitress’s ass and left a crap tip, adding injury to insult). I keep in touch with many people on FaceBook but I also love the little place that says “Do not show in newsfeed.” I have gone the extra click and unfriended a few who are a waste of psychic space.
I am keeping the positive people, the do-ers, the critical thinkers. I am allowing attrition to weed out the drama queens and time suckers and energy vampires. I am uncluttering my life. Just as I get rid of boxes of crap I have lugged through five states, I am getting rid of people who do nothing but weigh me down. Right now I am building my little reality and I am being very careful about who I let in. The right people know how to find me. The even more right ones make the effort to show up at my door.
After a half a lifetime cluttered with noise and social smiles and remembering strangers’ names and building a network of thousands of “contacts” I have decided to concentrate on quality, not quantity. Quality of my friends. Quality of my work. Quality of my life. I find quality in the quiet.