Friday, June 4, 2021

Summer's Serenity

Mid-morning finds me on the porch of a tiny house, sipping a cup of coffee, listening to the sounds of birds chirping in the surrounding trees. The air is slightly cool, the play of light and shadows rippling with a small, merciful breeze.
It's quiet here, the constant coos, twitters and cackles of winged creatures and the skittering of small animals and insects the only noise. Underneath them, the rustle of the breeze, the occasional rumble of an engine passing by on the road beyond, the whirr of the air conditioner in the adjoining shed. The cottage in front of the house sits silent; a white bunny with gray ears hops round in a patch of sunlight, a red-headed woodpecker lands on a hanging bird feeder - then flits from tree to tree - throat-calls low and full.
The bells of a nearby church ring the gongs of the hour: 10 times the chimes resound. A sense of echoing peace and calm resides here, along with the birds and flowers, the squirrels and copses of trees, nature in multitude.
I am but a temporary visitor in a serene space, a place where nature exists despite the presence of humanity and time. A nest of refreshment and solace for artists; a place where bodies can rest, minds can expand, hearts and stories can grow.
Today, I'll sit within the slices of light that reach this small nest and write. I'll read between branches and perhaps rediscover what it means to exist without being beholden to a schedule, to the care of others, to the phone or the clock or the need to accomplish anything else. I will sink into this feeling of melting into a space, into nature, into a zone free from judgement and open to creativity. To whatever comes. To the messy words and the beautiful words, the phrases later tossed and ones kept.
Above, I hear the steady buzz of an airplane along the skyline, its jet-stream blazing a streak of white against an expanse of blue. The woodpecker has gone, in its place the delicate chirruping of sparrows. The fluffy bunny flops, content to rest in the sunlight. The willow branches sway in the spare breeze, their soft green lace dancing in a sweet song of morning.
I sip my coffee, breathe deep of beauty and music and serenity - pick up my pen - and begin to write.
I hope you enjoyed this prose-poem, which I wrote on a beautiful Sunday morning whilst away on a Memorial Day weekend Writer's Retreat, at a tiny house in a lovely, wooded area a few miles away from everything and everyone else. The photo of the tiny house above is my own. 
With the arrival of June, the kids are officially out of school, the heat is on, and summer has officially begun! This is a time of year when I write less and read more, attend summer activities with the kids and take a trip or two. With life beginning to return to some sense of normality, I'm looking forward to days spent at the pool and the park, the lakefront and the library. As always, I'll take my journal along and hope to scribble down a poem or two, a short piece of prose or maybe even the beginnings of a new chapter for my novel. But mostly, I'll just be practicing the art of paying attention, and savoring the short time that the kids and I both have a little less scheduled, and a little more moments to linger in. 
In the spaces that aren't filled, and the moments that I find myself in need of artful inspiration, there will be always be music. June 11th marks the debut of The Washington Chorus's Resilience program, which will be available as an on-demand concert through June 30th. A program the celebrates diversity and art in both music and life, I can't wait to experience the finished product of much hard work & inspiration. 
Shortly following TWC"s Resilience debut is the unveiling of the Forget-Me-Not Chorus's short 10th anniversary film on June 18th, of which I had the pleasure and privilege of joining the chorus for the recording of its soundtrack. A chorus that helps those suffering from dementia, their families and their caregivers find joy through music, this was truly a work of the heart and a beautiful experience that moved me deeply. 
Last, the Stay at Home Choir will release our recording of Songbird, a piece that we recorded with The Kings Singers to celebrate the choir's first anniversary. I am truly blessed with the amount of music that I've been able to make throughout the pandemic, and even more amazed that there have been more opportunities to sing with each new month. June is no exception, with new projects on the horizon for both the Stay at Home Choir and the Self-Isolation Choir on my calendar that I'm excited to begin! 
I hope that you are able to find moments of serenity and joy in your summer, and that the month of June is one you can savor. Read a book, write a poem, take a nature walk, listen to beautiful music, make art, and spend time with those you love. Be safe & well, and thank you for visiting my blog! ✍📚🎵 -Stacie 

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