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neutrality, Switzerland

Peace Junkie

Posted on 2012.08.13 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114

When I talk about peace I'm not talking about pacifism, rather that inner solitude which can be so difficult to repeat as it is based on many discrete discordant timbers all falling silent simultaneously; and not just the measurable ones. The proper amount of rest, not to be confused with duration of sleep, a quieted mind - ever a challenge for some us - and perhaps even more unconsciously at times, the right frame of mind; call it mood or whatnot. All these things plus the cacophony of a 21st century lifestyle and quietude can be a pretty tall order.

But I have found my wellspring of youth as it were in the most ironic of places - a nursing home.

The 30-days my daughter took flute lessons gave me half an hour to kill four days a week. Given the location of her lessons this was just enough for me to drive to the nursing home to visit my grandfather-in-law, Bill for 20-minutes, which I did every day for a month.

The visits were short, to be sure, but I had a good routine: Park near the cafeteria and bring us each a cup of coffee. When the coffee was gone, it was time to go. It wasn't so much the length of the visit as the frequency I grew accustomed to, and started to crave. Its very quiet in nursing homes; the elderly and infirm don't make a lot of racket. And Bill doesn't place a lot of demands on me. He's happy enough for me to be there. Sometimes we talk, tell stories - sometimes we don't. To be in the presence of someone who has zero expectations of you in a quiet place where the contemplation of end of life takes place without words I found to be very calming.

My daughter stopped taking flute lessons two months ago, but I still try to make it up there at least once a day for my "fix" of peace.

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