Is Silence Passing Into Legend?

Abra has her little white kitten (a stuffed animal) sitting beside her, and she just keeps saying, “I can read all by self,” then she turns the page and says, “I can read all by self.” She’s been going on this way for about 30 minutes.

It’s quiet in the house tonight. Maile took Cade to his dentist appointment and then lassoed him into a few shopping trips on the way home: groceries, cooking supplies, a late dinner for just the two of them. So it’s a still night here in Paradise: Sam fell asleep around 7pm, Lucy is coloring at the kitchen table, and Abra is on our bed, convincing herself that every page reaffirms her ability to decipher the words.

* * * * *

The lamplight in the living room is dim, and outside it’s dark. I mean really dark. A little bit of moonlight back here in the middle of no where can turn an ordinary night into a silvery kind of dim day, but add a little cloud cover and the only way I’ll walk outside is with my hands extended in front of me.

* * * * *

You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind.  ~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

* * * * *

There is someone else here with me in this silence. Two people actually. I can sense God in the shadows cast by the low lights, in the echos of quiet, in the resigned sound of my exhale. But right there, alongside God, I can also sense myself. A self that gets so lost and scrambled by the noise and busy-ness and constant movement during the day.

It seems that God has never been more apparent to me, and this in the sound of my own breath. Or the lonely turning of the page in a child’s book.

* * * * *

At thirteen years old I went camping with a bunch of guys. We hiked up into the mountains. Our leader took us along a narrow, well-worn trail through trees so thick it felt like walking a narrow alley between high rises. Then we came to a two-foot wide bridge over a deep pool. We dropped our gear, stripped to our undies, and jumped in. The spring water was so cold my heart convulsed, my lungs didn’t want to breath and I swam for my life to the edge of the water.

On the bank, in the sun, I realized I had never felt so alive.

* * * * *

Stillness evades me these days. I spend so much time trying to write, or find that next project, or rush the children off to ballet or baseball or tennis or bed. I wait to wake up until I hear Sam stirring in his crib, retrieve him with a smile and a kiss, then go to the kitchen and start breakfast. There are so few moments like tonight, when all is still. It actually feels like my soul is taking a deep drink. It feels like the only real part of me has just swam like mad for the edge of an icy cold spring of water and has pulled itself up into the warm sunshine.

* * * * *

Is silence extinct? Have we recreated ourselves in an image of noise and bluster and debate and the constant tinkering with worthless things? Are we worried that silence will lead us on a broken path through the wasted ruins of our lives? Would we rather close our eyes and hum loudly to ourselves than be confronted with all that could be rebuilt within us?

* * * * *

“Soon silence will have passed into legend.  Man has turned his back on silence.  Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.  His anxiety subsides.  His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.”  Jean Arp

*photo of Abra compliments of Simply.S.Photography

6 Replies to “Is Silence Passing Into Legend?”

  1. Finding those moments is rare, and those times I am alone I’m trying to get my list together and remember all the things I have to do. You have a great post. I usually have those kind of thoughts on my drive to and from work. The only “alone” time I get. I cherish them.

  2. Great post, beautifully written. I appreciate the space between thoughts that invites me to pause and let them soak in.

    Oh, and I spent a lovely weekend in Paradise anyways; dragged my sis away from her tribe of five for 36 hours, enjoyed wonderful hospitality at the Creekside Inn, dinner at (?) the Greenfield Inn, and mostly just meandered around the beautiful countryside. Would indeed be a great place to gather with other writers someday!

  3. i never tire of reading your words. they have a way of transporting us. must be that old soul thing.

    keep doing what you’re doing because you’re good at it.

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