small in the silence

Before I shared a home with my husband, one of my favorite things to do was sit in my car by myself, in silence. I owned a dependable second-hand Honda Civic, still with its original AM/FM cassette player straight out of 1993. People used to complain and make fun of me about it, but I didn’t care. The music I liked to listen to never came out of a stereo.

I loved to listen to the hum of my little engine, plodding industriously away at the road underneath. I loved the sound of the wind rushing into the windows and back out again, weaving through cars and trees like thread in a long silk scarf. I loved the drip and drum of the rain on my windshield, my roof, my hood, falling like airborne soldiers and racing down the steel and glass. I loved the sound of everything – crickets, sirens, people’s quiet conversations in the streets. Sometimes I lost track of the time that went by while I was in there, and still I couldn’t get enough of it.

Some people hate being without any kind of music or background noise, but I think both sound and silence have their place in life. For me, silence is something I can’t live without, especially when my mind has been racing and brimming with the stuff of everyday life. At times like this, silence allows me to hear all the sounds of the earth that go on around me, with or without my problems and responsibilities, regardless of my job, my clients, my paychecks, in spite of my simultaneous self-centeredness and inadequacy. Silence reminds me that life goes on, that I am just a small part of something much bigger, and that the problems – to which I surrender so much of my time and energy – are even smaller still.

There is a lot of noise in the world nowadays, at least I feel there is in mine. Quiet moments are precious. I’m grateful for the silence that I was able to relish today, and I’m also grateful for the people in my life who understand my need for it. Most of all, I’m grateful for its existence, its simplicity and its unfailing relief.

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