Bird Droppings December 27, 2009
Yesterday was a long day driving to South Georgia and having Christmas again gifts, food and all the family fun. It was a great day and a tiring one with over five hours of driving and perhaps the drive back was the most fun with my sons and wife literally laughing nonstop at various humorous family stories for the entire journey. Although getting home after a wonderful day with family still felt good and it was the laying my head down and stopping when I went to bed that was even better. I took a moment last night after the car was unloaded and dogs had been taken out to gaze out into the night. A shooting star crossed my path zipping through the lace work of pines and pecan trees. But it was the listening that caught my attention. I was standing in my back yard listening and there was silence. As I stood how easy is it to find fear and or solace in silence. Many horror movies over the years and of course books for those of us who still read feature silence in all the build up. It always amazes me at how difficult is it to find silence? It was a clear night last night and not overcast which so often helps muffle the sounds of nature.
“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.” Thoreau, Henry David
Sitting here in near silence at my writing table working at my computer is relaxing and somewhat peaceful. The chill of the morning brought and a sunrise woke me from a silent slumber. I seem to have forgotten too put shoes on and my bare feet were getting frost bitten as I stepped out briefly into a cold morning. I took my dogs advice as he ran for the door. I have always enjoyed the calming effect of silence. But in a paradoxical way silence for some can be an effective torture. Taking away that sensation and limiting to only ones thoughts can for some be overwhelming.
“The Pause; that impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words, however so felicitous, could accomplish it.” Twain, Mark
Silence is a mighty sword in the hands of a warrior or poet. Yet why do we seek silence why do we try and find a place to rest away from the hustle and bustle of today’s world? Perhaps it is a contrast we seek. An exact opposite to our daily lives of running around, as if there were no tomorrow. Perhaps silence allows us to see beyond the wrapping of sensual awareness?
“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.” Confucius
“Silence is the genius of fools and one of the virtues of the wise” Pope Boniface VIII
“Under all speech that is good for anything three lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as time” Thomas Carlisle
I do find rest in the quiet of a forest or field. Often I will try and get away from everything put it all aside to have a few minutes without the trappings of our cluttered world. I often wonder at the loud bellowing booming music often spilling from cars as they vibrate with bass so loud the cars are shaking. A joke around the house was a movie featuring a rock band only known for being loud. They were asked how they could be so much louder than all the others and responded they turned up to eleven on the volume, no one else can do that. I thought my son was joking and should have known better as he has had his band experience much more than I. I was in a large music store outside Atlanta and I checked the Marshall Amps, traditionally the biggest and baddest of all amps. They only went to ten.
So I wonder can I find that place where sound and noise is reversed and find a negative one where all is calm and without sound, perhaps an amp where on the dial there is less than zero and a very silent moment. I would seriously applaud a really silent amp or rock band. Well maybe parents and folks parked next to those cars with fifty inch woofers would also appreciate the sound of silence. Could that place of ultimate silence be where you can truly find solace and peace?
“Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule.” Thomas Carlisle
For many seeking spiritual boundaries and finding doorways past where we are silence has always been a key. The great mystics of days gone by would retreat in silence often for days. Shamans and holy men seeking visions to guide their people would seclude themselves and find silence in order to delve deeper into their own existence. All through mans history silence has been a place of spiritual findings. Yet it too is one of fear for so many.
“A horrid stillness first invades the ear, And in that silence we the tempest fear.” John Dryden
Perhaps when we encounter something we are not accustomed to it is when we fear the most. Those seeking silence are on their own trying to find answers. Most people are content with the noise of the world the clutter and disarray. Being thrust into silence could be confusing for many sort of like going into unchartered lands. As I stood listening to see if the morning was truly silent after that quite moment last evening about ten minutes into my stillness or so a rooster cut loose and I knew I would open my eyes to the world I left briefly in the quiet of the morning. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.