Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Touch Of Silence

Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?

Lawrence Durrell
I awoke at 7 o'clock in the morning. It was 19 degrees. That's -7.22222 Celsius for my Canadian, English and Australian friends. An hour later it had dropped to 18 degrees. I don't much mind the cold. Having spent half my life covered in a blanket of ice and pummeled by the freezing rain of New England winters, my steel has been properly tempered.

With the Winter Solstice knocking at the door it's a signal for the end of the year festivities. Since I am in a better place mentally and emotionally than I was last year when I had the wolves circling around my life, growling and snarling, I've been wondering if I should do something to celebrate Christmas, like decorate.

The first winter I spent here I bought a small fibre optic tree and set it up on the front porch. The next day it was gone. Someone stole it. Since then I haven't thought much about any tokens of celebration. This apartment is too small for a real tree and since no one is coming to visit me, to share Christmas dinner or anything else, there will be no prettily wrapped packages to put under it anyway. I could hang some colored lights, I suppose, but way up here in my third floor aerie no one would see them from the street. So maybe I'll just make some cranberry cookies for my housemates and let it go at that.

In the apartment below me lives Dan. He's a nice fellow, intelligent and friendly, but he has a temper. He works as an odd job carpenter and hearing him tell stories of some of the people and circumstances he has to work with I'm not surprised. Sometimes he slams his door. I always jump when he does that because it's unexpected. I don't mind it because I know what it is, and in fact I'm glad he does it because it tells me there is life going on in the building. It is also, sometimes, the only sound I hear.

I've never before lived in a place that was so quiet. The other half of my life I spent in New York, which is not only the city that never sleeps, it's the city that never shuts up. There's 24 hour noise. If I wasn't there I was living with someone, so there was human conversation and activity around me. But here there is such delicious quiet that it sometimes seems I am alone in the universe.

I have come to enjoy and cherish the quiet and also to respect it. It is a blessing to trade the cacophony of the world for silence. Abiding graciously the loneliness from the lack of human contact affords me the gift of sharing with myself my own best company.

I will play music which helps to define the silence like a frame around a work of art. But silence is the best music. Silence invites me to listen, it unfolds things that can't be heard in any other way, it opens a dialogue of ideas, impressions and realities which only it knows. And silence listens, without judgement or argument, to my thoughts, and forms them to fit it's own accumulated wisdom. It gives back more to me than I give to it.

Sometimes I talk out loud to myself just to put the sound of my voice into my space. The silence waits patiently for me to finish and then fills up the empty space with it's own oratory, richer and more majestic than the mere plodding of human thought.

How do I interpret the silence around me? In bright daylight or dark of night as a friend, a companion, a teacher, a traveler who has been everywhere and knows everything, an unlocked chest of treasures, a benign and mysterious ghost frightening only in its grand and persistent presence.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

Only 9 responses so far. Autumn is almost over. I await your answer.

Thank you.


Nina P. said...

Decorate your silence to honor it. A small strand of lights to brighten the night. Voice and music are such wonderful companions to silence as even silence awaits companion. So many people fear silence, they don't understand... in a world filled with humming, honking horns, raised voices,etc.. it is the melody of silence that quells even the loudest note... Celebrate the solstice with a few lights and decorations: silence will it's honor. A warm and wonderful winter to you my friend and a very Happy New Year. Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

Big Mark 243 said...

I cherish my silence. Wheather in a bustling place like the Metro or the DC Metroplex, finding those moments of stillness is always cherished.

It is 5 a.m. central time and I can hear the muffled sounds of a neighbor's telly and the sounds of the odd car passing. The hum of the refrigerator along with the tapping of my keystrokes as I type this are the only sounds available... and I relish moments like this... they are what I look back upon when I find myself uncomfortable among people.

And that feeling of uncomfortableness is not accompanied with doing something unpleasant. Unpleasant thing are also necessary things, at least they are more often than not, and the immediacy of their requirements outweight their muck or feelings that I would rather not take part in them. The feeling that I am speaking of has to do with the whirring of the mind.

That is why so many people fear the silence ... it means they are alone with the person they are the most confused by in the world... themselves. To dwell and think about who they are... one of the most difficult tasks for any person to do, is why so few appreciate the time alone that comes to them.

Valerie said...

I absolutely love my silence. I live in a home that is quiet most of the time. I, too, live in a home like yours. I share it with a few others who are mostly quiet. There was a time in my life when silence scared me. Now I crave it.

Every year I put up one or two seasonal decorations to brighten up my spirit. We deserve it.

Merry Christmas! Val =)

pacifica62 said...

Since Christmas is the time for giving and sharing, I vote for making those cookies. If you can see your way to it, a small lit candle would also be nice in this season of darkness. Other than that, enjoy your peace and tranquility. There are others out there who would very much envy your little sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the wild, wild world.

Nance said...

DB, that was truly beautiful. And it gives me hope. Thanks for the Christmas gift.

Arlene (AJ) said...

When they say silence can be golden, it indeed can. Music is always a wonderful way to enjoy your silence and baking some goodies is also a nice addition to this. We may not be there with you in person, but, you'll be with us in our heart dear, you always are.

bakelite buffoon said...

Dude, I hear you loud and clear. :) :) :) May your holiday be blessed. Pat

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Silence gives us the chance to contemplate and drink in the richness of our world.