Quiet Can Be Good

So, I’ve been back from vacation for a week now, but I have been quiet. How are you all doing? Good? I hope you are.

We’ve been pretty well. But I have to tell you, it has been a week where I have felt compelled to be quiet. For me, that means staying off the Interwebs a bit.

I am sure, if you’ve been at all tuned in to the news, you’ll agree that it’s been a bit of a rough week for a lot of people. There’s been a little more violence and trauma and anger in the world in recent weeks, it seems. And I don’t know about you, but it just came time for me to just take a break.

My favourite group in Rav declared it an Emergency Blanket Fort Day on Friday, which I just decided to extend to this weekend. A Blanket Fort Day is when you just retreat to the comfort of somewhere with lots of pillows, blankets, snacks, maybe some fuzzy critters or snuggly family members, and watch nice television or read or nap and just take a break from the world. Call it a mental health day. But it was welcome, I can tell you.

I was not directly affected by the more violent events of the world this week. I didn’t run in Boston or work for a fertilizer plant in Texas or know anyone affected by a quake in China or know anyone in the other violence-afflicted corners of our planet. But the endless bytes of news coming from these places had found me and started to get under my skin.

So I took some time off.

The catalyst came, for me, Friday morning, when I dropped Stinkerbelle off at school. It was a rainy day so she wore her boots, and I had forgotten to pack running shoes to wear in the gym. So I dropped her off and then went home to go retrieve a pair of sneakers for her.

When I got back to the school, I went to the classroom. The door was locked. I knocked a few times and finally got a teacher’s attention. She came over to open the door, and I saw her reach up and shift a locking latch about five feet up. And I realized that not only was I locked out, I was REALLY locked out. And my daughter was locked in.

It suddenly all came rushing home to me.

My child was locked into her classroom for her protection. This is good. I KNOW this. And last week, when they had a tornado drill, and talked about a lockdown — this was also good, and for her protection.

Why would my daughter need protection? She’s just going to school. And we’re just living our lives here in suburban Ontario. What’s there to be worried about?

The cycles of news have brought terrible things — all the violence of Boston  and the Middle East and North Korea and Sandy Hook before that, gang rapes in India and South Africa, natural disasters all over the world with regular frequency — all this has been brought to my computer screen in real time and with disturbing normality.

My friends the world over in my online community are breaking news stories before the major news networks do. Tweets from BBC News and EverydaySexism and Huffington Post and retweets from the local police and politically-minded celebrities and friends mean there’s a continual stream of up-to-the-moment news on what’s going wrong with the world.

And I just got to the point, as I was sitting at my desk feeling shaken on Friday morning, that I just didn’t want to deal with that sort of new normal any more.

So we stocked up on snacks and retreated to the Blanket Fort all weekend. I stayed away from the news. We watched kids’ movies and Coast and Harry Potter and Graham Norton and Doctor Who. We ate samosas and an enormous fruit tray and cheetos.

We were protected in our blanket fort by pillows and knitting and snuggly blankets and each other.

I needed it.

But now Monday morning is here, and it’s time to face reality again. There’s work to be done and housework to do and a kid with a tummy complaint to deal with. There’s blogging to be done.

Quiet time is over. It’s time to venture out into the world, as cruel and crazy and beautiful as it can be, and get on with it again.

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