It sounded like rain drops hitting a tent.
If you’ve ever been caught in the rain while camping you know exactly what I’m talking about.
First, it’s the soft thump of a few rogue droplets making contact with the canvas. Almost as if someone is tossing mini water balloons at your tent.
Next comes the increased frequency of thuds. Like a beautifully orchestrated symphony, the percussion section begins to elevate their involvement by adding timpani drums and the beat of a melodic snare.
Mimicking the movements of soldiers marching forward into battle, the rain drops begin arriving at a more rapid pace, each one with more force than its predecessor. Like the symphony’s crescendo, you can tell that the storm is only gaining strength with each passing moment.
Finally, Mother Nature’s orchestra reaches a climax and the flood gates open. The once calm pitter patter has evolved into a powerful pounding of gravity propelled water droplets violently striking the thin membrane keeping you dry.
It’s a little frightening and somewhat odd at first. You don’t know exactly how to react.
Should I freak out and grab hold of the closest person or thing? It’s not gay to grab your male roommate if you’re scared or confused… in case you were worried.
But something occurs inside of you and you refrain from grabbing onto your man friend. The pulsating rain drops become somewhat of a familiar noise. No longer do they strike fear or anxiety into your heart.
You begin to find the rhythm again.
Each successive drop creates more clarity in your mind. What was once a deafening distraction has somehow turned into a sound-based barrier against sensory overload.
There are no ringtones, text message dings, or annoying strangers incessantly talking at an unnecessary volume into their cell phones.
“OMG, I know! Veronica looked like such a slut last night. I heard she went home with that guy and totally banged him.”
Thank God someone is around to keep me posted on Veronica’s sex life.
There are no commercial breaks, loud music, or ambient noise inherent to the urban lifestyle I’ve grown so accustomed to. Disruptions cease to exist.
Then I open my eyes.
I’m not camping.
I’m sitting in the shower. That’s right, sitting in the shower.
I’ve been doing it for years. The location most conducive to this activity is the bathtub/shower combo. They are an elongated space with a smooth surface to gently place your derriere.
At first I would just sit there and let the water strike my head while it slowly ran down my body; a very relaxing environment to say the least. Sometimes a random visitor would intrude: Gus.
He’s not my roommate.
He was my ex-girlfriend’s dog who would stick his head through the curtain to say “hello” and lick the water off of my shoulder. It would always put a smile on my face.
But when I wasn’t interrupted by canine companions, I would soak in the warm, refreshing water and let my mind roam.
I’ve done some of my most profound thinking while sitting in the shower.
Some prefer the peacefulness of a library or the tranquility of a barren room. Many enjoy the comforting embrace of a toilet seat while they strap on their thinking caps. But I choose the hot, soothing atmosphere of a shower.
My quiet place has evolved.
One day I unintentionally plugged my ears with both index fingers as I wrapped my hands around my head. That’s when I first noticed the “tent effect.”
It reminded me of weekend camping adventures in the Rocky Mountains in late spring. I thought of summer evenings on my parent’s screened-in porch as I watched thunderstorms cross the Eastern plains. Both embody that state of tranquility I long for.
So I kept doing it.
Long days at work became nothing more than a distant memory once my ears were plugged. It was almost like entering my own personal sensory deprivation tank.
The world around me ceases to exist and I’m left alone with nothing more than a calming pitter patter of water droplets and my thoughts.
Call it meditation, call it deep contemplation. Whatever label you prefer, it’s simply a moment of solitude; a place to revel in the marvels of enjoying the journey.
With so much going on in the world outside, it’s necessary to have an escape.
If you haven’t been alone with your thoughts in a while, it can be an intimidating place to linger. Similar to the onslaught of thunderous rain drops, it takes time to embrace the rhythm and become friends with the inner silence.
But it offers something that is hard to come by these days: serenity.
So, where do you find peace of mind?
*Bonus points to anyone who identifies the man in the shower. If you know me, it shouldn’t be hard…