Browsing through the WordPress site, I stumbled on this weekly writing challenge and the last week’s theme was The Sound of Silence. I know it’s a little late but it’s been on my mind. I’d recently read a blog post from Blithely Unaware (one of my favourites) about motherhood and the toddler stage and she mentioned silence being a massive virtue. It struck a chord. My house is full noise. My darling A is 10 months and in the words of her speech pathologist “very vocally advanced”. I’m not saying that shit to be smug, I’m just so proud of how far my baby has come from a kid that had feeding issues and needed treatment and who was at high risk for speech problems later (which many many kids with these feeding issues have) to one that is jabbering away at a level beyond her. I owe enormous gratitude to her speech pathologist for a lot of it. I also sometimes, when the noise is incessant, almost wish she hadn’t done quite so good a job.
But the value I place on quiet time goes beyond that of a first time mum needing a few minutes to think and recoup. As a teacher, I know that silence can be a seriously undervalued commodity. The gift of keeping a class of rowdy adolescents relatively quiet is not one that came naturally but I made sure I worked hard to acquire it or I would not have survived the first few years of teaching. In the early days, I would come home and just sit in the quiet. I wouldn’t turn on the television. I would make a cup of tea and just sit in peaceful, silent bliss. I didn’t want to talk and rehash my day and I didn’t want to hear about M’s day. M found it frustrating, but those first 15 minutes after I got home were non negotiable. I remember times, after a full on teaching day of back to back lessons of thirty plus kids in a small classroom, that I would drive home in absolute silence. No radio. No iPod. Just the soft whirr of the engine for the hour trip home. It was restorative and rejuvenating.
I often think that in general, people place a high value on silence but very rarely take time to enjoy it. Its a total cliché, but amongst the chaos of our modern everyday existence, taking those moments for ourselves can be very difficult to justify. But when it all gets to much, we often then look to fixes like meditation to try and “centre” ourselves. I often think that the meditation can almost amount to window dressing. The silence is often all thats needed. But we need to be able to appreciate it. I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve been able to sit in the quiet and instead have turned on the television, or radio, or played with my phone. Until I get to a point where the chaos and noise becomes overwhelming and I crave silence. The thing about silence is that it isn’t always something that accompanies solitude, although they can co exist quite perfectly. Silence among a companions can almost be a measure of the strength of the relationship. If it doesn’t require words or noise to fill the void, then it is probably made of stronger stuff.
There is a reason they call it peace and quiet. They are two concepts that overlap and can be almost synonymous. Here’s to the golden moments.