I once looked at nothing but trees and sky.
Recuperating from a bad bout of pneumonia, I lay on the sofa in our small front room, gazing up into two towering pine trees through windows on three sides. Days turned into weeks turned into months of reverie. I was on sabbatical from my teaching job, and didn't feel guilty, or even really notice how much time I was spending on the couch. Wind swayed the boughs. Mourning doves built a precarious nest. Robins and jays and crows and sparrows flew in and out of the branches. Squirrels chased each other. Hummingbirds hovered, tiny wings a rapid blur, before suddenly shooting off and disappearing. We live in the East Bay hills near San Francisco, and you can see sky and other hills and a silver line of glittering water far away. It was comforting. The view was spacious, and yet I felt sheltered by the enormous trees.
And once before. I was recovering from the breakup of my first marriage. Every day I sat cross-legged in the sun on the roof of my friend's house on a steep hill in Ithaca, New York, and looked out at the far blue on all sides, and down at the green treetops below, and felt both empty and full. I inhaled the sky in deep healing breaths.
So rare, doing nothing.
About the Author: Jacqueline Doyle's very short prose has appeared in PANK, Sweet, Monkeybicycle, Vestal Review, The Rumpus, Café Irreal, Bluestem, Corium, and elsewhere. Her work has earned two Pushcart nominations and Notable Essay citations in Best American Essays 2013 and Best American Essays 2015. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Find her online here.