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Inner Peace: The noise of inner peace

Inner peace is a birthright, like bones and roses. It lives in the face or it hides in the heart, but it's always at hand. If you have dogs, you know how quick they are to greet you when you come home, while a cat, like inner peace, may receive you in its own time. To be more present, maybe inner peace needs a better name, like Aldebaran or Houghmagandy, but they are spoken for already, by the Moors and the Celts.

A man who lived in a large house with a small cat never sought out the pet he had loved and fed and known from its birth. Every meeting between them was a quiet surprise, and sometimes when the man entered a room and saw the cat on a table or in the niche of a bookcase, the cat would jump down and leave the room by one door just as the man entered by another. And this, he said, was its greeting.

Inner peace is the balance we need to step back and forth at will between land and water, from the dock to the boat, holding our souls as if on trays, and never dropping a one. However far the man with the cat walks into his house, the journey is a continuous threshold, for the animal in us senses that peace is not the distance between perimeters and centers — as a fortress would show — but a castle of knobless, hinge-free doors that allows the wind to bring the flavor of extraneous things into our utmost privacy.

And prayer is inner peace. Praying, you scatter all the words you have in a search for mercy. Whispering your form letter, you begin, Dear God ... Waving your voice like a white cane, you pray your curiosity.

Everything you want to know you ask for, murmuring at first, then shouting. Make a question of a primal scream and watch it fall back, like gravity; shout your prayer again so that the answer is sewn into the journey and not its dead end.

If I am in love with someone, the love imparts a kind of peace that is chaotic. Erotic peace is not order and silence; it's a peace of uncharted tumult so that when I meditate to relieve passion I hear the clamor of small things, like a tap dripping or a clock ticking or the sound of crickets that is probably just the whistle of worn-out ears.

But way past taps and clocks and hands are the loopy vibrating strings of all beginning — strings of love, God, beauty, thought and hardware.

Particle physicists say, "What is the path?" There is no path, but motion itself is a wending sound of peace. Who hears it?

Walking into a forest, you may walk into a wolf, but he wants his peace more than he wants you, and the act of passing, not colliding, is the real etiquette of physics.

If I could witness anything it would be Andromeda and the Milky Way when they make good on a collision course uncharted for all the other galaxies that rush at God's high speed away from one another. I think they will collide without touching. They are too big and fabulous to smash like a ball and bat, or drunk drivers speeding toward each other in the dark. Astronomers guess like poets where the Earth will end up when these two galactic giants heave together with the noise of a wolf star chewing us to bits, or the pop of our Earth leaving its solar system to fall onto a different path and circle a different star and keep its inner peace a little longer.

Lovers and planets, cats and poets crave what hides in the heart, and the cats will stalk it and the lovers will meet it like they meet themselves, ecstatically.

Brent Jarrett is a recent Ashland resident and former college English teacher and poet. You are invited to share your experience of inner peace. E-mail your 650-word article to Sally McKirgan at innerpeace@q.com.