The Spaces In-Between

The true art of lace is not the lace itself; it is the empty spaces in between that give a spool of thread its definition. The magic happens in the nothingness between the floss. And as magic goes, it is invisible.

The beauty of Nothing is too often overlooked. Because there is nothing to see, we ignore it.

But Nothing is there and present. It gives emphasis to the Somethings in our world. It defines the boundaries, traces the outlines and sharpens the focus of all the things with which we fill our lives.

We fear Nothing. We dread the void. We run through our days, filling every minute to avoid the stillness. We run on a treadmill of emotional highs and sensory delights. We celebrate the mediocre to justify our adoration and our need to have a brimming cup of Fool’s Gold, to feel like we belong.

And yet, in the quiet is where the important work happens. Seeds germinate under the blanket of soil. The field looks barren, a Kingdom of Nothing. But in reality, seeds need to break their covering in order to sprout. Destruction of the boundary, of the shell is necessary for construction. And this takes place under the disguise of Nothing happening oh so silently.

Wounds don’t heal with constant prodding. At some point, they need the miracle of Nothing to form ugly scabs, to re-knit and mend. When it looks like nothing is happening, everything important really is. We hide those scars on our skin, in our souls. But why, when those scars are trophies of some of our hardest-won victories?

Nothing gives us time to correct, to grow, to make sense of the chaos that spins us around. The empty space lets us hear the echoes, see the shadows and make sense of the senseless. Even a muddy pond can become a clear pool if left to settle undisturbed, the miracle of Nothing.

I have learned to love Nothing. I thrill at the way it gives definition to a full life, the way the tang of lemons offset the sweetness of meringue in pie. Nothing is like a soaking rain after a long dry spell. Everyone wants the sweet and the happy, but without a pause in between, even sweet and happy deteriorate to monotony. In cooking, and in life, a drop of vinegar can take good to extraordinary.

Sometimes I get into my car at the end of a long day, and just sit to listen to the silence before I start the motor and head back home. Before I let the chatter of the radio and the pandemonium of traffic take over the next hour of my life, I sit, just exist, and let the muddy pool in my head calm down.




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