Silence and Peace

Sitting beside the cold slab of granite, I close my eyes
Tasting the breeze like sweetmint, completely alone.
I cross my legs and fold my hands in silence.
Emptying my mind, softening my brow, I meditate,
Breathing in and out. Cumbersome thoughts crawl
Away, the ache in my chest subsides, and I am at peace.

I am, at least, until something disturbs the peace —
An uncomfortable sensation — open my eyes
Pop. There, on my bare leg, an ant crawls!
I flick it away, preferring to be left alone.
It’s on this thought that I meditate,
That the only path to sanity is solitude and silence.

As if on cue, a noise interrupts the silence;
Two eager literature students discussing War and Peace.
No matter if I am trying to meditate!
As if they could care enough to notice, I roll my eyes
And wait for them to pass so I am, once again, alone.
The chatter gets fainter, it crawls

Through the air, crawls and crawls and crawls
Until (not soon enough) I am enveloped in silence.
I used to fear this once, the prospect of being alone.
The forlornness to me was quite the opposite of peace,
Like the disappointment in the eyes
Of my parents sending me to my room to meditate

On my mistakes and failures. Now, by choice, I meditate.
I welcome the escape. Smooth as a cat crawls,
The thoughts slip away until there is nothing behind my eyes
But the bliss of emptiness, the sweet, sweet silence–
If everyone would do this, I think, there would be more peace,
Because peace only comes in silence and being left alone.

But a crackle in the brush reveals I am not, in fact, alone;
A deer has been watching as I try to meditate,
Then the sudden tickle of another insect–is there no peace?
I shake off the bug and smash it so it cannot crawl.
The deer starts, then gapes at me in silence.
The sun stares down at me like a celestial eye.

Perhaps I’ve had enough alone time for today, I think, as I crawl
To my feet, enough of trying to meditate in sporadic silence.
I gaze down at the Rest in Peace on the stone below, with droplets in my eyes.

Angelea Hayes is a Creative Writing major at Pepperdine University, where she is also a part of the Global Fellows program.  She has studied abroad in New Zealand, London, and will be interning in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2021.  She is originally from Burbank, CA.