Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Quiet

This is a long post of little interest.

About an hour ago, I read to my two five year old girls. We read Jon Muth's Zen Shorts. I don't know if they really enjoyed it, but it was a quiet read. My wife and nine year old son are out of town.

The watercolor artwork of the book was soothing and provided an easy transition to bed time. While I read, from the kitchen Yo-Yo Ma could be heard playing the works of Ennio Morricone. The music was both spectacular and relaxing. This collection of soundtracks always seem to quiet the girls. They seem to know that when classical music is heard, bedtime is nearing.

They drifted off to sleep a half an hour ago. There were no final protests, only a question about whether tomorrow will be Tuesday. No, sweeties, Tuesday is the day after tomorrow.

It is evening. The earlier part of the day was about family. The girls played hard and could not be convinced to help with house cleaning. They behaved their age, as expected.

The morning was rainy until about 10am, when the sun finally made its appearance. In celebration, I cleared the living room floor of unfolded clothes. We then danced to an adhoc mix of R&B. We danced to some Lauryn Hill, Michael Franti (Spearhead), and old-school Chaka Khan (with Rufus). After dancing, the girls took a bath and I whisked them off to spend a couple hours with their cousins, aunt and uncle.

The late afternoon saw me tinkering around with microcontrollers and solder at my workdesk. At a particularly difficult solder junction, I was interupted by the return of the girls, their cousins, aunt and uncle.

Then, quickly, came their supper, teeth brushing and nighttime book.

There was something about the book, the Zen Shorts book, that seemed to break any desire to return to the workbench. Nighttime is not for engineering. At least not for me tonight.

My supper is simple and not very refined. A bagel, some sunflower seed butter, a glass of cheap Pinot Noir. The house is quiet.

My thoughts turn to art, the books I bought recently to read, and the quietness. The unusual quietness that would have not existed with whole family present.

The books were purchased yesterday on a whim from Second Story Books in Rockville. This is a huge warehouse full of used books. I spent a hour and a half browsing the science, computer, engineering and math sections. I left with three books: The Tale of the Scale, The Introspective Engineer, and The Art of Mathematics.

As a modern technological man, I feel compelled to fill quiet voids with ideas, tinkering and programming. All of this, I am compelled to dive into with a panic -- I only have a few hours before sleep and the week will begin.

Another glass of wine and this feeling should dissipate. A little cello swooning and swaying in the background should set the mood for reading.

The week ahead is full of projects and spirited engineering. There are difficult deadlines looming.

But tonight, there are clothes to be folded, a bed to be made and books to be perused.

Yet, in the quiet there is still a tug of loneliness. I keep expecting to hear my son giggling or his inevitable "what can we do together tonight?". But, that will soon return. It will be a welcome return, but tonight there is just me, my gently sleeping girls and the quiet.

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