If a leaf fell in the forest and you were perfectly silent…would you hear it?

Silent meditation

As Jalaluddin Rumi said:

Why are you so afraid of silence?

Silence is the root of everything.
If you spiral into its void,
a hundred voices will thunder messages you long to hear. 




Silence is painful, but in silence things take form, and we must wait and watch.  In us, in our secret depth, lies the knowing element which sees and hears that which we do not see nor hear. All our perceptions, all the things we have done, all that we are today, dwelt once in that knowing, silent depth, that treasure chamber in the soul. And we are more than we think, We are more than we know. That which is more than we think and know is always seeking and adding to itself while we are doing – or think we are doing nothing. But to be conscious of what is going in our depth is to help it along. When subconsciousness becomes consciousness, the seeds in our winter-clad selves turn to flowers, and the silent life in us sings with all its might.  —Khalil Gibran



     “Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space,

a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by

doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in

the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence.

Not an emptiness but repletion.  A filling up. ~Anne LeClaire      





A day of silence

can be a pilgrimage itself.

A Day of Silence
Can help you listen
To the Soul play
Its marvelous lute and drum.

Is not most talking
A crazed defense of a crumbling fort?

I thought we came here
To surrender to Silence,

To yield to Light and Happiness,

To Dance within
In celebration of Love’s Victory!

I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz
by Daniel Ladinsky. 


Just be... Just breathe...

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

So still


Sometimes the chatter of our endless thoughts slows.  Sometimes it disappears.  There–in the midst of our washing dishes or getting ready for work–right in the middle of our ordinary day–we’ll feel the sacred, the divine, in the stillness and silence which is always present.  Yet we so often miss that presence because we’re so filled with our daily doings which can sabatoge the silence, hold it at gunpoint, create terrorist craziness in our lives.  Seek ye the silence within, dear readers, and so shall I.   –me. 

Light in the darkness; Hope in the Night


We talk to ourselves incessantly about our world. In fact we maintain our world with our internal talk. And whenever we finish talking to ourselves about ourselves and our world, the world is always as it should be. We renew it, we rekindle it with life, we uphold it with our internal talk. Not only that, but we also choose our paths as we talk to ourselves. Thus we repeat the same choices over and over until the day we die, because we keep on repeating the same internal talk over and over until the day we die. A warrior is aware of this and strives to stop his internal talk.  –Don Juan via Carlos Castaneda

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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23 Responses to If a leaf fell in the forest and you were perfectly silent…would you hear it?

  1. holessence says:

    Whispering how much I enjoyed this post. Now quietly tip-toeing away…

  2. barb says:

    To seek silence is often to lose it – though sometimes if I’m still and not trying so hard to make something happen, it pays a visit. I read Carlos Castaneda such a long time ago – I think back in the 70’s when my children were small. Being a Warrior seemed an impossibility then and somehow still does.

  3. Susan D says:

    Shhhhhh. Thank you. I treasure silence. One of the reasons I love Winter is for the quieter world. Already, the noise of warmer days is starting and I grieve. Shhhhhh. Breathing that I think your photos are amazing. Thank you for the beautiful words that honor silence. Precious, lovely silence.

  4. How beautiful! The words, and the pictures. ♥

  5. Cindy Lou says:

    This time of year I seem to need more than the usual amount of silence….my psyche feels hen-pecked and hectic with the demands of school and all I seem able to do when I get home is to walk the dogs and read in silence. I love your photos and the quote by Anne LeClaire!

  6. Sybil says:

    I am a busy-minded chatterbox. It is so hard to still my thoughts.

    Spent several hours lugging rocks around the garden today in silence, my mind quiet for once and it was good.

  7. jeff vanderhorst says:


  8. Kathy says:

    Witnessing the silence along with you during this day~~may we notice the gaps between our thoughts and words~~may we spend as much time with those gaps as with our inner chattering. Blessings to all!

  9. Barbara Rodgers says:

    What a sweet quiet doe you photographed… I can feel her spirit somehow…

    Kathy, sometimes I get hung up on word connotations. When I think of silence it awakens a primal fear in me, a fear of being confined in a sensory-deprivation room, completely devoid of light and sound. But the silence you and the other writers above seem to be describing is an absence of noise pollution and the chatter in our heads. And that kind of silence, or quiet, sounds soothing and healing to me. At night I need to listen to soft music or a sounds-of-nature CD in order to fall asleep. Or better still, have a window open to listen to the natural world. (Peepers should be starting up soon!) One night I was visiting someone in Vermont and the guest room window was next to a bubbling brook – I still remember that night of blissfully restorative sleep.

    This was a wonderfully evocative post. The words and pictures moved me deeply. Thank you…

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, how often all of us can get hung up on word connotations! The silence of which I was trying to speak–and perhaps others here, as well–is more of an inner stillness and peace. Absolutely the opposite of that sensory-deprived room, perhaps. It’s almost as if the silence or stillness evokes that babbling brook, the quiet soothing sounds of nature, and yet it’s exquisitely pefectly empty. At least that’s how I experience it sometimes. It’s when everything in us relaxes and says “ah-ha” and suddenly feels more deeply at home than we dreamed possible. I had intended to leave this blog about silence up for awhile, but yesterday’s blog about our dead loved ones rose through the silence and insisted upon being written. Thank you.

  10. Colleen says:

    I treasure those moments of actually hearing the silence. As contradictory as this might seem. Not just the absence of all sound, but actual silence. There is such aliveness in those moments. They are precious but more often than not, very fleeting…..

    Thank you for the blessings Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Moments of silence to treasure…me, too. I feel like I am just beginning sometimes to realize the aliveness in the silence. Last weekend the silence (or stillness, rather) lasted almost for the whole weekend before a flurry of thoughts and words and personality took over FULL FORCE on Sunday. Now I am longing to have it back. Which, of course, they say, is not living in the moment…

  11. Beautiful words. Silence, peace and blessings to you, dear Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Joanne. I love when silence and peace accompanies us throughout our days. Then–no matter what words arise–they appear cushioned or balanced or supported by that silence. Bless you.

  12. I love your caption “Just be… just breathe…” 🙂 This is one of the BIG reasons why I developed an interest in photography – more specifically, nature walk photography! When I go out on my nature hikes, I don’t have to talk to anyone, I don’t have to talk to myself, I don’t even think in words! I just FEEL. Doing this is one of the most relaxing and “purifying” things I can do for myself right now. Even when I come back home, I don’t talk to anyone for a while – I allow myself some time to settle back in before I get back to “normal life”. Sometimes I don’t have very long to do this, my little guys are usually at my feet, demanding to see the pictures!

  13. kiwidutch says:

    I find the city excessively noisy so apart from the normal noise of family life I prefer silence in the house, no radio going, little TV, and only every now and again do I put on a CD and really just sit and listen.
    I love silence when I’m driving on the car (alone) and yes I know that I’m probably the exception and not the rule, but Himself is much the same… I enjoy silence a lot, it’s calm and relaxing thing, not at all awkward or strained. I don’t “need” noise in the background constantly.

    • Kathy says:

      I am like you, kiwidutch. There is something so relaxing about silence. We don’t even have TV anymore and that feels such a relief. Sometimes I listen to the radio in the car, but that is all. It is beautiful. So glad you’ve experienced this beauty too.

  14. Carol says:

    Gorgeous photos, as always. Wonderful words – silence is my life preserver.

  15. Marianne says:

    Beautiful, Kathy! I especially love the Khalil Gibran quote and the expanse photo. It’s breathtaking. And the little deer is so cute. Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Marianne, it’s interesting how different people resonate with different quotes and different photos. This was a peaceful blog to write and illustrate with photos. Thank you!

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