Contentment Can Be Where You Find It

Silence is loud in the city. It is the noise of life. City streets, all hours of the day, are lined with cars and trucks in every shape and color; each jockeying for the quickest route home. It is a constant parade of vehicles and people, dogs, bicycles, taxis, ambulances, police, fire trucks, and buses. Standard Utility Vans roll by above the flow. Many are talking on cell phones totally unconscious of the world outside their windows, even; sometimes to the signals of green and red…stop and go. Horns blare and wheels squeal.
I am also fond of this time of day. Contentment is contagious and as I watch my dogs relaxed and content, I settle into the moment and let my mind wander.
We live in a second floor condominium in a small complex that was built around a rectangle swimming pool. Each unit opens on a walkway above the first floor pool area. The pool is usually still and deserted, except for two weeks when Nancy’s grandchildren visit. You could say that we are near water.

Yet, only streets away from this hyper-activity of traffic, in the shaded neighborhood, squirrels eat nuts in the middle of the street. Crows squawk at each other from pole to pole keeping watch for hawks.

We are waiting for Lee, Jipper, Sassy and me. He had called to say he was ten minutes away. When he calls, we follow routine and move into waiting formation.

When Lee calls to announce his impending arrival, I release the hounds, two small overfed Pomeranians. The dogs take their places on the walkway above the swimming pool where they watch the first floor for signs of life. They are not in a hurry. Until Lee arrives, they will bark a greeting to anyone who steps up to the elevator below. They are patient with life, for eventually Lee will step through the garage door and walk to the elevator. Until then, they listen and watch. Silence is a perspective. It is in the pauses that we find ourselves and hear the mourning dove cooing for its mate.

This is the dogs’ favorite time of day, well, except for walks, riding in the car, “getting up time,” which is often four in the morning, and treats.

While they enjoy all escort duty, bringing guests from the elevator to our front door. Their two favorite escorts are food deliveries and Lee. It is the best of the bests, a great honor, in another day of wonder, marching Lee home bringing another work day to a close.

Sassy trots down the concrete walkway towards the elevator. When she reaches the appropriate spot, she lays her belly and body down as smoothly as maple syrup on hot pancakes. When she is in place, she is so round and furry that it looks like someone dropped their fur muff on the floor. She likes to keep her belly cool. Sassy settles just as easily onto the green grass when we are in North Carolina. I always thought she only did this in Carolina because, well, it was home. Only today, I noticed that she seems just as content on concrete as grass.

Jipper won’t go that far from the front door until he sees the top of Lee’s head pop through the door below. Jipper never forgets that he is a lap dog, and he considers a walk every 12 hours quite enough exercise. But this time of day was an exception to the rule, his ears are up and alert. Today, he will see Lee first. He will be the first to bark the alarm.

I am also fond of this time of day. Contentment is contagious and as I watch my dogs relaxed and content, I settle into the moment and let my mind wander.

If we pause, if we settle into the rhythm, we find all. We adjust into the repetition of life. To the city dweller, this loud silence is no different than slumbering off to sleep to the song of the cicada with bull frogs singing bass.

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