Memory of a Gentle Night

My graduate school experience was like one long car wreck. The last quarter I worked around the clock just to get myself free. By the time I graduated, my brain was exhausted and all my emotional resources were spent. I couldn’t make plans or think in logical sequences. I gave myself the present of going out of the country for the first time in my life. After reading Joan Smith novels in my youth and watching BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice” over and over just to relieve the pressure of graduate school, I chose to escape to England.

My cousin traveled with me. Now this was almost fifteen years ago and those odd three-wheeled cars were still on the British roads. We naively chose to rent a huge station wagon that was a nightmare to navigate on the tiny streets. We would drive to a town, go to the local tourist info office and find a place to stay. One night, we stumbled onto a Bed and Breakfast on a lonely country road. We were shown to a communal parlor where comfy armchairs draped with blankets of fur were drawn by a fire. The owners brought us red wine and hot cream of mushroom soup topped with crisp toast. Another lady shared our parlor. We didn’t speak but nodded our greetings, each happy to have the other there, but sharing an unspoken understanding for the need for silence. We all sank into our books – I believe I was reading Agnes Gray — letting the low pop and hiss of the fire calm us. For the first time in two years, I felt this drowsy peace deep inside my muscles and I relaxed.

Today, as I drove through the congested traffic in the slippery rain, I thought about that night.

Leonard Campbell Taylor – The Rain It Raineth Every Day

(Okay, so this painting doesn’t really match the post, yet, somehow it does…)

A song for this post – HEM’s version of a Rainy Night in Georgia. Note: You will need Spotify to play this song.

7 Replies to “Memory of a Gentle Night”

  1. What a lovely picture, and a lovely image. I want a nice rainy evening, a cracking fire, and some peace.

  2. Your post reminds me of one of the best nights of my life — alone in the house, chicken soup on the stove, a soft snow falling, a fire in the fireplace, and a good book. It only lasted four hours, but yes, peace defined.

  3. There’s nothing like a well-run bed and breakfast. We stayed in a wonderful one in St. Augustine before we moved to North Florida. And I also stayed in a great B&B in Tullimore, Ireland, my mother’s birth place.

  4. Wow Tia! A B&B in Ireland. I’m very envious. I visited St. Augustine when I was very young, but I remember thinking it was a beautiful place.

  5. That cat totally makes this painting.
    So nice you have that incredibly relaxing memory to tuck into when you need it.

    I thought about this post for awhile after reading it earlier this week. Several times it has made me stop, breathe, and find the peace of the moment I am in – such a rare thing for me to do. Just yesterday morning, after dropping kid #1 off at school and heading to work with kid #2, my head full of errands, bills, scripts that need to be written, etc -I shut it all off and relaxed my shoulders, looked around at the brilliant, sunny sky – full of huge wisps of clouds (my favorite kind), enjoyed the old Madonna song on the radio (Live to Tell), and had a moment of peace. Thank you for that!

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