Silence – What does it mean to you, and do you like it?
I am relaxing on my back porch on a Sunday afternoon. We live in a neighborhood, in a small town close to a larger city. A robin sits in the live oak shading my porch, and several other songbirds flit about. I can hear dogs barking, a car engine, the water fountain in my little pond, an airplane, and just a few minutes ago, a train. I love to sit outside and soak in the warm air and sunshine, but all the noisy intrusions make me sad.
I hear a neighbors wind chime as a breeze passes through. I like that sound. I hear a motorcycle on the busier road bordering the neighborhood. I hear kids playing, another nice sound. I guess I am picky about what I want to hear.
There is silence, and then there really is silence. True nature silence is rarely found. I remember hearing, or not hearing, this type of silence in the Yellowstone National Park, when we were very far from main attractions. Another place I noticed it was Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada. There is a feeling of silence, a lack of all but breezes and trees. Not only are all the intrusive sounds of humanity missing, but the silence is almost a weight, an immensity of nature. Of course there are sounds, leaves rustling, birds singing, even trees brushing against each other, but somehow it is different, larger.
I love, even crave the silence. I search for it by walking in the woods, finding a quiet spot at a park or on the beach. The beach has moments of silence, especially when the waves are small, nearly non-existent. Other times the waves roar, not silent but yet a peaceful sound.
When my house is empty or when everyone is quietly reading or crafting, the silence is like a peaceful hug.
There are people that do not like silence; they try to fill their world with sound. Empty quiet homes must have a TV running in the background, music playing as they read or study. Quiet moments have to be filled with chatter.
Restaurants have TV’s in every corner. If you have nothing to say, the electronic chatter will cover the silence. Yesterday I pumped gas with a TV screen blaring ads on the pump.
As we move and build suburbs out into the country and as airplanes cross every section of sky, silence becomes harder to find, and infinitely more valuable and needed. There is a healing power in silence. Silence is golden.