The mid-afternoon bell sounds, startling me from my reverie. Engrossed with pigment and shape, I lost track of time. Murgatroid, asleep on her cushion, stretches lazily and opens her mouth in a big, pink yawn.
“Hey, Kittie,” Cheyenne smiles, reaching to scratch Murg just behind the ear. “How you doin’, Murgatroid? Keeping Mom company?” She gives me a quick peck on the cheek.
“Wow!” she says, admiring the painting. “I can almost smell the rain in the air! And you’ve captured the fragility of the petals just as they were that day! How do you do it?”
“How do you make five strings sound like a whole orchestra?” I laugh. “And when did you come home? I didn’t hear you.”
“Just got here. I came to sit afternoon meditation with you, if that’s okay,” she smiles, reclining into the cushions and teasing Murgatroid with a piece of string. “Then maybe a nap?”
“Sure. Let me clean my brushes first.” I rinse and put away my tools, close the paint chest, and move the easel close to the window. Arm in arm, we move onto the porch and take our seats on the firm cushions.
All over the village, people are settling down for quiet time. Whether we nap, read, meditate, stroll through the gardens, this is the time of day we show gratitude for our bodies’ service with an hour’s rest. For some, the hour is too long and they honor the rest by taking up quiet work that stirs the air little. Others, like Ralph who rises at 4:00 every morning, will sleep till the dinner bell sounds.
For Cheyenne and me, this is a time of quiet reflection together. In silence, hearing only the sound of each other’s breath and our own heartbeats, we experience our selves together yet separate.