Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Peace of Quiet.

One of my favorite peaceful (and quiet) places: the Moss Steps at Tower Hill --  ©Lynn Schweikart

As I write this, I hear the sound of a jet coming in low overhead. My great-grandmother's clock is ticking in the next room. The refrigerator and air conditioner are humming away. There are jet skis on Sagamore Creek. Quiet, it is not.

So naturally, a blog piece by acoustic ecologist, Gordon Hempton, who will be the guest this week on On Being with Krista Tippett, has me yearning for silence.

He writes:

"Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything...It is the presence of time, undisturbed. It can be felt within the chest. Silence nurtures our nature, our human nature, and lets us know who we are. Left with a more receptive mind and a more attuned ear, we become better listeners not only to nature but to each other. Silence can be carried like embers from a fire. Silence can be found, and silence can find you. Silence can be lost and also recovered. But silence cannot be imagined, although most people think so. To experience the soul-swelling wonder of silence, you must hear it.
Silence is a sound, many, many sounds. I’ve heard more than I can count. Silence is the moonlit song of the coyote signing the air, and the answer of its mate. It is the falling whisper of snow that will later melt with an astonishing reggae rhythm so crisp that you will want to dance to it. It is the sound of pollinating winged insects vibrating soft tunes as they defensively dart in and out of the pine boughs to temporarily escape the breeze, a mix of insect hum and pine sigh that will stick with you all day. Silence is the passing flock of chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches, chirping and fluttering, reminding you of your own curiosity."

I'm looking forward to listening to his conversation with Krista this Sunday morning:  The Last Quiet Places: Silence and the Presence of Everything.  As for today, it's the 4th of July. I'm sure it will be anything but quiet. 

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