Silence and everything after

Today I started turning things off. I started with the radio in the car. Oh wonderful quiet rolling along among autumn-burnished hillsides and rusty grass. Only the sound of the tires on the road, the engine thrumming. Then when I got home from work, I prepared dinner in silence, no music, no radio.

I don’t get a lot of silence at work; the room where my desk resides is a walkway and work area for many other people. My back is to the center of the room. All day long folks are traveling in and out through a door directly beside my desk. But when I work from home, I work mostly in silence. I crave it. Swim in it.

The world today is noisy on so many levels – lots of information flowing, sound following us everywhere, even outside in Alaska there is the sound of airplanes overhead, cars on a distant roadway.

And yet in silence, I can feel my muscles relax. My shoulders drop, my jaw loosens. I am suddenly more aware of the things around me when I wean myself away from adding to the din –shut off the computer at an earlier hour, rethink the radio or music as constant background companion.

Poetry is very much about silence. Silence that surrounds intentional word choices. White space that surrounds intentional distribution of words on a page. Perhaps to find the poetry, we need to honor the silence. It is where we came from and where we are all going.

4 Replies to “Silence and everything after”

  1. By the way, the photo is from the other day when the mist rolled over the mountain and down the glacier before spilling out onto Kachemak Bay. Nice, huh?

  2. Beautiful. I am headed to guide Polar Bear trips on Friday. I lead a writing workshop out on the Tundra Lodge. We head out onto the “silent” tundra with our eyes closed. Turns out, it is not so silent. All of the sudden the guests notice so much more. I am not sure making dinner with your eyes closed would be safe, but it is another way of silencing the space around you. Thanks for the piece. I liked the last line especially.

  3. I, too, live in a quiet place — in a small town on the Oregon Coast. And still, my head gets busy with sound. Poetry, I think, is a sort of hush, urging us to stillness, to slowness. It’s always the quiet that is most full.

    Thank you for the reminder.

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