Found: five minutes.
Train whistle wail. Hammer staccato in the backyard (our chicken coop commences). Rushing whisper of passing traffic, someone stayed late at the office, missed dinner, late for happy hour. Overlapping evening birdsong — the triple-coo of mourning doves, shrill single whistles, chirps. Just there, the whine of the tablesaw (see above). Kids playing in the street.
Today was so full. Swallowtail butterflies, a probable fox sighting, kingfisher hovering and then smashing down through the surface of the river, bounty claimed. And two wee, dotted fawns. The girl-child performed her trademark “Duck Dance” in the park. My applause was genuine. We went to the library and got greedy at the shelves.
And then, home. I hinge my hopes for quiet hour on two things: our library card, and hammocks. If I could recommend one single thing to parents of small children, it would be this — do everything you can to teach them to read for pleasure. It is a two-way magical gate. I absolutely roll around in the luxuriousness of an hour of quiet. I would name a milkshake after the delight of time reclaimed with zero guilt, pure confidence. Call it, The Reader’s Delight. Slurp it up through a bendy straw, because it is the saving grace every day. And not just because I get those minutes to do … whatever I want. (Like read.) But because she comes away loving something new, every single time. Thirsty for the world, and gulping it down. Right now, she’s teaching herself to speak Giant. Like, actually learning the language of Giants, as recorded by the author. Today she asked me, “Where is the small sheep?” in Giantese.
And then we get to cuddle in her bed after lights out — legs tangled together, her head cupped under my nose, hair smelling like salt and bergamot — and talk about it all. Books are our delicious dessert. Our voyage across the universe and back in time for supper. Our Favorite Thing Ever.