Silent blog. Please read quietly.

Links of chain

Shhhh…  It’s hard to talk.  Challenging to write.  I haven’t spoken a word aloud for twelve hours since 6:30 this morning when Barry left to fish at the Otter Lake Fishing Tournament. 

The phone never jangled.  No music  played (oh, except for Desperado by the Eagles for three minutes in the morning.)  No TV.  Nothing except…silence.  And it has felt so…darn….good.

On other silent days I might fill the space with lots of computer time, chatting hither and yon on-line, babbling like a brook in spring.  But today I turned off the computer after a short while reading and commenting on blogs.  Turned, instead, to face the silence and listen to what it might say.

Silent house shadows

It is interesting to contemplate silence.  It is equally interesting to find oneself suddenly and unexpectedly within a silent day, with no intention of doing so.

Especially if one has been reading “Listening Below the Noise:  A Meditation on the Practice of Silence” by Anne D. LeClaire.  This little book came at Christmastime, a gift from my daughter.  (Of course, I asked for it.) 

The inner book cover says:  “Anne D. LeClaire has practice total silence on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month for 17 years.  By detaching herself from the bustle of her hectic lifestyle and learning to listen to her deepest self, she has found a center from which to live–one that tests, strengthens and heals her.  In practicing silence, she has discovered her own secret garden–a cloistered, sacred, private place where true personal growth is possible.”

She shares the many teachings of silence in her memoir.  The value and depth of it.  But also the shadow sides of silence, where silence is used to alienate, wound, stifle, separate.

From “Compost:  Confronting the Messy Space Within” to “Boneyard:  Surrendering the need to be right” the essays explore lessons learned from silence. 

I have been silently reading one essay a day since the beginning of 2010, inviting myself to listen deeper than the noisy thoughts and voices at the surface.  It is proving a valuable quest.

May there be light, please

Synchronistically enough, my friend Amy pointed toward her Benedictine Oblate Blog where she shared some thoughts about silence.  In Many Kinds of Snow, Many Kinds of Silence she ponders the many kinds of stillness.

“It’s easy to see why some fear silence, because it can evoke a little death.  In the absence of conversation, of immediate feedback from other human beings, we can start to feel as if we don’t exist.  We aren’t mother, father, child, partner, lover, friend . . . we aren’t successful on the stage of anyone’s life, professionally or personally . . . we are brought back to the steady THERENESS of the world and its quite indifference to us.”

She points toward the other kind of silence, that which awakens our sense of interconnectedness with all of creation and muses: “But I suspect we often come to know the radiant sort of silence when we’ve stayed put for a time with the impersonalizing, absent sort of silence.”

Solitary

Today silence seems to be teaching me the value of not multi-tasking.  The value of doing one thing at a time.  The value of sitting quietly while these photographs upload.  Instead of frantically rushing between email and other on-line sites, I simply rest.  Listen to the humming of the woodstove.  Watch the darkness descending upon the land.  Feel peacefulness like a warm blanket enveloping inner lands where too much noise and chatter sometimes create stress.

The earth's silent language

Anne LeClaire quotes musician Artur Schnabel:  “The notes I handle no better than many pianists,” he said, “But the pauses between the notes–ah, that is where art resides.”

I would simply add that perhaps the pauses between our daily busyness and thoughts might be the place where peace resides.  Where sanctuary exists.  Where the world is made right once more…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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22 Responses to Silent blog. Please read quietly.

  1. Susan D. says:

    ….

  2. p.j. grath says:

    Lovely. Not multitasking. Resting. –And the chain links?

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, the chain links…have meaning…not sure how to articulate. It has something to do with the center open part as being the silent window. And maybe the chain itself is not-silence. I dunno. Can only feel that it somehow applies.

  3. Julia says:

    whispering…..Silence is golden. Enjoy

    • Kathy says:

      whispering back…. hi julia. whispering again…used the last little bit of the bath salts you sent last winter. saved ’em for one last luxurious soak. in silence of course!

  4. Dawn says:

    I read her book in October. Loved it, but not sure I’m brave enough. Should try. Shhhhhhhhhhh……

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, oh good, you read the book, too. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to announce a day of silence when Barry’s around. Or when the phone is ringing and the kids are calling. Or work-stuff, or friends. But yesterday it was as if the Universe decided. So no bravery was required.

  5. A timely post and one I will heed

  6. fountainpen says:

    Kathy,
    Indeed, we are linked together, mysteriously linked together, and your first picture is a wonderfully strong image!

    Fountainpen

  7. Jane says:

    Very few people know the sound that silence makes… I’m glad you’re one of them that does

  8. flandrumhill says:

    The Rule of Benedict is very close to my heart and so much of it has to do with the practice of silence. I could talk for hours about silence 😉

    My life has always been full of people and their noises. And for this I am thankful. It’s been decades since I’ve had a silent day. Children, grandchildren and a husband who loves to converse have filled each day with verbal interactions. Sometimes, I have such an absolute longing for silence and quiet. I’ve learned to make the most of quiet moments, whenever they surface and that ultimately, silence is a state of mind.

    • Kathy says:

      Amy, you could talk for hours about silence! Hey, me too… I so agree with your last sentence. Silence is ultimately a state of mind. Silence can exist even in the midst of much noise and people. I often hear the silence coming through between your words.

  9. Lucienne says:

    This was my Twitter from a while ago:

    Listening to the sound beyond the silence. I think it’s trying to tell me something.

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