Stillness

Today I’d like to be rolling around in a giant hamster ball with an air filter, but that kind of hampers social interaction. The pollen levels are high, and my sinuses don’t like it. I suppose I was made for a land where everything remains frozen forever…

Yesterday, I went to a beautiful place called Hallstatt, which looked like it came straight off my travel Pinterest board. (Out of curiosity, I just checked, and it wasn’t. Oddly enough, only one place in Austria was there, out of the whole pinboard. I guess Austria wasn’t really on my radar before I decided to come here… and now I realize it’s the perfect place for me to be right now. But that’s a different post for another day.)

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Yeah. It’s just about perfect. The pictures are breathtaking, but they don’t do the whole experience justice. It was the quintessential Austria experience: taking the train through mountainous villages and towns, arriving at the edge of a lake that we had to cross by ferry to get to the town, then spending the day wandering through charming streets, churches, and shops.

We finished our day by sitting on the dock of a restaurant, eating, drinking coffee, talking, and laughing. I would have enjoyed a few more hours there, perhaps a few to just sit on the edge of the water and write. Or maybe just stare.

I find water to be so mesmerizing, such an enigma. This lake is so glassy that in pictures you can often see the whole town reflected in it. Everything around was still. Still mountains, still water, and still town (since the high tourist season hasn’t begun yet).

I need this stillness. In quiet and stillness, I’m so aware of my beating heart and the air in my lungs, of the calm that hangs over everything, only disturbed by chirping birds or the rare hum of an automobile. I’m clinging to that still feeling back in Graz today, though in the city of over 250,000 dust flies and cars zoom and trams charge by. People honk and talk loudly, and you can’t hear your heart beat. You might feel it beating faster though. Walk fast, think fast, move fast, try to form a German phrase fast (I’m doing better at that).

I have this image in my head of standing in the middle of a swirling storm of cars and planes and trains and pollen and books and voices and cell phones and food, standing still and breathing deeply. Maybe closing my eyes every few inhales and picturing the silence and stillness where I hear my heart beat and feel my humanity and know that God is God and I am not.

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