Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul’s break for freedom.
Listen to the silence as it echoes around you. Ancient spirits dance to it.
~Amber Coverdalle Sumrall
You might think, given how little I’ve been blogging lately, that I’ve been practicing some form of silence. That couldn’t be further from the truth. My life has been filled with noise of some kind or another, and a vow of silence is not something anyone would accuse me of having taken in recent weeks or months. Generally speaking, I spend so much time alone that when I’m with people I tend to be a chatterbox (or, as one friend put it long ago, a babbling brook).
The noise I write of is a good kind of noise. The sounds of summer. Waves crashing to shore, crickets chirping, cicadas whirring and buzzing, tree frogs trilling, wind rustling grasses and leaves, a neighborhood rooster crowing whenever he feels like it, the splashing sounds of people in the water, the loud hum of machinery as the farmers bring in the harvest. There have been conversations, laughter, giggles, and all kinds of other noises that adults make when they are with little ones. Our grandsons came back with their parents for a second visit (and to pick up Jake the Dog who, as you might recall, stayed with us for a little over a week). During Jake’s stay, M and I went to the Freeman Stage in Delaware to listen to some fantastic music as part of Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown tour. There has been very little silence in my life of late.
There are subtle signs that all of the summer sounds will soon be autumn sounds. The blackbirds are beginning to gather in flocks. Geese fly overhead in their chevron shapes, honking about their next big adventure. The shadows at sunrise and sunset are growing longer. Mornings are foggy or dewy or a combination of the two. We’ve had some cooler nights associated with a cold front that also brought us slightly cooler days.
Today it is hot and humid again, and the breeze that’s blowing around the ranch isn’t enough to make it feel even a little bit cooler or drier. The house is currently empty of visiting family and friends. Even M has gone back to his regular work schedule although that’s temporary because there is more family in our immediate future. My father will be coming for a visit, staying for about a week. After he goes home, around the 8th of September, we’ll settle back into quiet and routine again.
Because the house is clean, almost spring-cleaning clean (I thoroughly scrubbed the place after Jake the Dog went home on the 20th because dogs drool and leave lots of hair), and most of the outdoor chores are done, I’ve had some time to explore a bit of cyberspace today, visiting some of my blog friends and neighbors, listening to a talk or two, and finding some new stuff here and there. One of the new things I found is Emergence Magazine, an online magazine that is currently free and offering an interesting mix of media on a quarterly basis (the printed version comes out yearly), each issue revolving around a specific theme. There are essays, poetry, videos, immersive activities, and even a practice. If you have time, you might want to explore the magazine and even take some time for the Experience or the Practice. The current theme is Wildness (and how could that NOT draw me in?), and it includes an essay by George Prochnik on Silence.
I have been thinking a lot about silence in this season of not-so-silent. I signed up for an autumn yogic detox/cleanse that takes place during the entire month of October. I suppose I ought to say that I purchased it or subscribed to it since it isn’t free. After this summer of family, friends, love, busyness, travel, and a lot of overindulgence in the sweet and the salty, I’m looking forward to pulling back, retreating, taking some time to engage in some radical self-care. Yogic detox/cleanse programs usually take place in the spring, to get us ready for more activity. This particular one is a getting ready for winter, a feathering of the nest for the colder months (that, on this sweltering day, seem far and away).
I am wondering about a vow of silence. Nothing drastic. A few days in October of listening rather than talking. I thought I might combine that with one of the exercises from the book Zen Camera (by David Ulrich): immersive attention (going somewhere for a predetermined time — an hour or more — and becoming a part of the space, looking at the details, simply observing without taking photographs). I’m not so sure about that, though, since journaling is allowed to write down your impressions and thoughts. If I’m using words, even in writing, is it still silence?
I reckon that’s about it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch and from me on this thick and sticky last Monday in August. Thank you so much for stopping by and joining me on another meander. If it’s windy enough to keep away the biting insects (mosquitoes, chiggers, noseeums, and giant flies are out in force), let’s meet at the Point to watch the sun as it slips down behind the horizon. Sunset is scheduled for 7:42 PM. Wow. I didn’t realize sunset had moved to such an earlier time. The last time I checked (which was only two weeks ago!), sunset was at 8:01 PM. Anyhow. I’ll be there early with the insect repellent (in case you need some, too). The heat and haziness often produce some lovely and colorful sunsets.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 811) Another visit with my grandsons and their parents. 812) A thoroughly cleaned house. There’s something so relaxing about it. 813) A delicious rice bowl for lunch. 814) Silence, even it’s not truly silent. 815) Saved the best for last today — Celebrating 42 years of life, the universe, marriage, and everything with M today. ♥