That is the face of my little chihuahua, Nina, peeking out of her ‘cave’.
Every night she burrows her way under the furry blanket until there’s darkness and silence.
Then she sleeps.
In the morning she bounces with joy and the anticipation of a new day.
It renews me.
After a day in the office – busy, buzzing place that it is – I am relieved to climb into my car, pull the door closed and lean into the silence. I sit there, cherishing, for long minutes.
Viewed from the outside, there’s nothing happening. Yet much is taking place below the surface.
Like in real caves.
They have bloodstreams and respiratory systems, infections and infestations. They take in organic matter and digest it, flushing it slowly through their systems. James Tabor, ‘Blind Descent ‘ from The New Yorker Magazine
I went caving once. Actual, ‘drop into a hole below the ground’ caving. The cameraman and I were told to meet the caving club in a farmer’s paddock. We were expecting a tall place where the cave mouth was hidden behind trees and boulders. But it was just a gap in the earth, the entry point where we would access hidden places that nobody suspected were there.
It wasn’t spectacular like caves that make the news.
It was cramped, musty and the air felt thick. I was happy we could scrabble back up into the paddock. But aside from the claustrophobic conditions, I also remember when the cavers got us to turn off our lights and listen.
They offered us the silence and like Nina’s blanket, it enfolded us in a restorative pause.
There are those who say your god can be found in the silence. It’s where I listen to what’s deepest within me when I create my own cave.
A cave, real or one of our own making, can be where we create space to listen.
We have to trust that silence does not equal inactivity.
Beneath the surface, important restorative work may be taking place.