Literary Journal – Spring 2017

Achieving Inner Calm

Judy Wrase Nygard

Breathing deeply, in and out,
Doing the steps of tai-chi
Breathing in, raising both hands, palms down
Shifting right
Raising both hands to shoulder level
Breathing out
Moving raised hands to the left
Breathing in
Shifting to the left foot and turning the left palm towards me
Breathing out.

Achieving inner calm.

Digging in the dirt with my hand trowel
Breaking up clumps into loose soil
Smelling the dirt
Noticing earthworms wiggle in it
Digging out the deep roots of a dandelion
Pulling weeds with my right gloved hand
Tossing them into my new plastic trug, a gift from Ken
Hearing the birds scold me for being too close to their birdhouse nests
Feeling the warmth of the sun on my back
Hearing the bees buzzing in rhododendron blossoms
Sitting on my garden stool and looking up at fluffy clouds

Achieving inner calm

Knitting and purling
One row of knitting
One row of purling
Back and forth
Watching the variegated yarn reveal its pattern
Back and forth
Hearing the metal needles click
Back and forth
Rocking in my chair as I knit back and forth.

Achieving inner calm

Smelling my homemade chicken vegetable soup in the beautiful bowl from North Carolina
Tasting the rich homemade broth made from gelled broth of a roasted whole chicken with added low-salt chicken stock and cooked long and slow in my metal soup pot
Sensing each spoonful slide down
Warming my throat and stomach.

Achieving inner calm

Achieving inner calm and peace by being mindful of every movement I make, every smell I notice, and every sound that I let myself hear.


Judy Wrase Nygard has taken up new interests since retiring. In place of responding to college essays, she now gives tours of the Pearl S. Buck house, writes memoirs and local history, does water aerobics, and learns about ancient Native American mounds in the U.S.

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