Friday, December 30, 2005

The Sound of Silence

I am excited. I have the prospect of a relatively silent and quiet day ahead of me. The house is empty and will remain so until tomorrow. I love the quiet. This might surprise the people who know me well, because I also love music and movies. But the older I get the more I am learning to appreciate the all too precious and rare commodity of silence.

True silence is hard to come by in this day and age. Our world is so noisy. Some of us awake to the sound of a clock radio, amble into the kitchen for that morning cup of coffee in front of the t.v. and then switch on the radio the minute we hop in the car for the trip to work. We can't even go shopping without some form of music being piped into our ears. And if it isn't noise distracting us 24-7, we have advertisers doing their level best to use every available surface to attract and cajole us. Can we say "overstimulated"? It seems like someone is always trying to tell us what we should think, what we should like, how we should look and what we should buy. When do we have time for our own thoughts & meditations? When do we have time to compose the music of our own souls? Are we really so afraid of our own thoughts? Are we afraid that if we examined the contents of our own souls we would come up empty?

I often have the opportunity to spend time in our very large church sanctuary praying and meditating. For the most part I am alone and I treasure the silence of that space. I could sit for hours if my life didn't necessitate otherwise. Many times I pray and or sing, but many times I also just sit - listening. When I enter the silence I feel as though I am taking a shower internally. Things just drop. The external noise of the world dissipates. I am at peace. For me there is a beauty to the silence that is a music God alone can compose. From time to time I am not alone and someone comes in to clean or do some other task. On this day the young woman came up to me and asked me how long I was going to be there. She wanted to play the radio and was gracious enough to be willing to wait until I was finished. "This silence is so oppressive!" she said. I could only smile.

8 comments:

Constantine said...

Very thoughtful post Angevoix. I remember once you commenting that if you had your way you'd be on a farm or in the country or something like that. Is that because of the commodity of natural silence that is inherent there?

madcapmum said...

My Poppy is one who enjoys "global sensory stimulation". (An extrovert in a family of introverts, poor thing.) One time when we were at a restaurant with an enclosed children's play area (empty), and she was waiting for us to finish our drinks, she ventured in there on her on. She was back in about three minutes. "It's so quiet! It's really spooky in there! Gave me the creeps." Your radio-girl reminded me of that.

H. Stallard said...

I have a friend who lives on a farm and occasionally they have to be gone for a week-end and I've gone over and watched the place and looked after the live stock for them. It is quiet a ways from the road and that not traveled very much so the only manmade noise you hear is the drone of a single plane flying over. For me it is a deeply moving experience to be immersed in the solitude of nature. It is one of the very few places where I can be totally alone with myself without external manmade noises. Even in most of the places I hunt, I can still hear the trains and traffic on the distant roads.

voixdange said...

C, that may be part of it, but there is just so much beauty in the country. I spent part of my childhood on a farm with a lot of wooded acreage and many streams and ponds. Very lush. Then another farm we lived at later on was deep in the mountains of Virginia. It had a spring bursting out of the side of the mountain just yards from our front door. Imagine waking to that sound every morning! Not to mention the white picket fence lined by holly bushes and the grove of tulip trees on the other side of it. When I would climb to the top of the small blackberry laden mountain behind our our house I could see white stone cliffs in the distance. There is something to be said for growing up in an atmosphere where dragonflies, jack in the pulpits and wild strawberries are your playmates.

Constantine said...

Wow. Your original post whispered, out of respect for the silence you conjured, a gentle and subtle truth frequently lost in our world, but your follow up response transfixed me. Some very nice writing Angevoix. I'm an aficionado of good writing, and I can say you captured something true and real in your response. When I read it I was transported to those farms. You breathed life into the images you painted with your words and the world you describing bloomed around me. I could see what you saw. I smelled the flowers and strawberries and blackberries (tasted a few of them too!). I splashed my face with the spring water and smiled at its refreshing coolness. Thanks for sharing your playmates with me for a spell Mi Amiga.

I don't know why (probably because of the scenery and setting of much of the story), but a book came to mind when I read your response. Have you ever read "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson? It's a small book (Young Adult literature) that leaves a big impression.

voixdange said...

Merci C! I will check out the book.

Dan Trabue said...

Nothing like having children to invest one with an appreciation for silence...

voixdange said...

Too funny Dan!