Many weeks for Five Minute Friday we need to choose a definition of the one word prompt; when there are several possibilities, it would be fun to write to more than one! For today's still I considered both silent, motionless, and ongoing, persistent. Musically? The first could relate to Bob Dylan's "The time will come up when the wind will stop, and the breeze will cease to be breathin' like the stillness in the wind 'fore the hurricane begins…" The second could be Lionel Richie's song with the title Still the Commodores sang long ago: "but then most of all, I do love you … still."
These branches were one of several illustrations I considered for "still." Some were even snowier! Forests, canyons, meadows, deserts, and many of creation's venues often become retreat havens for individuals and groups who need to escape everyday stresses and crazy routines. Although I did well as an undergrad music major in a required 3-credit acoustics course, the way snow absorbs sound always amazes me because it even creates near-silence when noisemakers like vehicles, machinery, and conversation are nearby. I wonder how that even happens, and I wonder if snow could be the best solution to trial and error efforts at designing effective freeway sound walls? But of course it could! Especially in places like the desert southwest and the beach cities of southern California.
Along with still natural surroundings, we experience other options for still—sometimes forced upon us, sometimes as part of life's natural rhythms, at other times because we choose them. These include slowing down at close of day and hopefully sleeping for a few hours before waking up at least reasonably ready for a new day. Observing Sabbath stillness as a community and as individuals is one of God's commandments. When an entire Saturday or Sunday isn't possible, wise people have learned to designate a regular time to cease or somewhat still ordinary endeavors because human bodies, minds, and spirits need the respite of stillness, as do non-human creatures, farms, and fields. The Exodus version of the Ten Words or Commandments explains we need to keep sabbath because God rested ("ceased") all activity after six days of creation. God created us in the divine image, so sabbath belongs to claiming our imago dei.
• I had to edit after publishing because I mis-remembered and then recalled correctly. Deuteronomy says we keep sabbath because God liberated us during the exodus; the book of Exodus says we keep sabbath because God rested on the seventh day, so it's the opposite of what you might expect.
• The winter evergreen header image comes from The Jungle Photo team of photographers on Creative Market and based in Poland. I did some edits as suntreeriver design.