Everything Is Exactly Right

I am, as I’ve written here before, a fan of stillness and silence. There’s a particular pleasure that comes from the absence of noise and clutter — mental, as well as visual and aural — that I couldn’t even come close to explaining even if I had years to try, but it’s something that I find especially important and fulfilling the busier and more frenetic the day-to-day becomes.

This thought occurred to me recently while sitting on the couch, waiting for something to happen (a specific something, I should clarify, not the generic “waiting for something to happen” that denotes ennui or boredom). I was finishing up an unusual piece of evening work while no-one else was around — they were asleep, making all parts of the house surprisingly still and silent — and for once, there was no music playing and no television making dramatic noises off in the background somewhere. Instead, when I finished typing and closed the document in question, I suddenly realized how quiet it was.

And yet, it wasn’t entirely quiet. At some point, without me really being fully aware of it, two cats had started to lay on me as I worked — one on my legs, another against my shoulders and draped across the upper part of my arm — and both were asleep, cozily snuggled up to me and snoring. The sound of those snores, almost comically gentle and understated as if a human was trying to conjure up an approximation of the cutest snore imaginable for an animated movie, was effortlessly comforting, and somehow underscored how silent and still everything else was around me.

Even as one of the cats pushed against me, as if trying to sleepily will my leg to change shape and become more comfortable (Sorry, cat; there’s bone in there to prevent that from happening), I felt at peace, entirely comfortable and thinking I can’t move, I cannot, I can’t disturb these cats at all over and over to myself — reader, I did eventually; the ache in my leg demanded it — it felt as if I was receiving an unexpected, inexplicable gift: a small strand of the world that was not moving for just a second, letting me exist quietly and happily. That thought came to me, and was immediately affirmed by a low purr right next to my head.

Sometimes, in the midst of everything else, things can feel at least temporarily perfect.

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