Recently, we've been sitting outside in the middle of our front yard and watching the day turn to night. For 15 minutes or a half hour.
We've seen the tree limbs go from brown to black against the sky. We've watched bats circling. And we've craned our necks at waves of red-breasted robins and the occasional bat flapping overhead.
And we've talked.
I didn't know how much our kiddo enjoyed the talking until one night, after a neighbor walking her dog stopped to chat for a good 15-minute stretch. After the neighbor moved on:
DAUGHTER: Let's go get a bigger blanket, Mama, so we can be warmer while it turns into night.
ME: What if we get the bigger one tomorrow night, because it's almost time to go inside now. See how dark it is?
HER: But but but . . .
ME: What's up?
HER: [Distressed.] We didn't get to have enough CONVERSATION! And now we have to go in!
ME: We didn't? I thought we had great conversation during the time before our neighbor stopped.
HER: That wasn't enough! We didn't have enough of our own quiet CONVERSATION!
Ah. Yes. This time is indeed for that kind of conversation.
There is something soul-quieting about watching the day end, whether you're having a little chat with someone you love or just sitting with yourself. It soothes my mind and all of its racing. It makes picking up my phone or opening my laptop for latenight work seem sort of gross. It helps me feel like I have done my best for today, whether it was my crappy best or my fabulous best, whether the results were wretched or wonderful, and that I can try again tomorrow. It signals my brain to rest.
If you haven't seen it turn from light to dark in a while--really seen it--I recommend it. It can seem crazy to consider adding something else at bedtime, and yet if our house is any indication, it can encourage us to let go of some other nighttime habits that aren't serving us.
If you decide one day this week to throw a blanket down in the front yard or just stand at the window watching it get dark, know that you are not alone. And if you don't, that's okay, too.