1. The condition or quality of being or keeping still and silent.
2. The absence of sound; stillness.
3. A period of time without speech or noise.
Silence isn’t just about reducing the noise of daily life, it’s about celebrating those activities, reading, writing, walking, poetry that grow out of the silence.
My life is invariably noisy. Living in London, working in a school, having twin boys who’re five and a daughter who’s eleven, ensure it.
And that noise, from waking to sleeping, fills my head and prevents me thinking clearly. It crowds my appreciation of many things and acts as a barrier to my seeing and enjoying the world around me.
City noise in particular, that headache-inducing bombardment of sound, of radio, TV, people, cars, jets, sirens and talking, talking, talking, drains me.
I crave silence. And seek it on the drive home from work, whilst cycling or walking; even on the back deck of the boat, yep, there’s a sort of silence there too despite the rattle-chatter of the engine.
I look forward to cocooning moments when I can metaphorically at least close the door, draw the blinds and settle into a favourite comfy chair to listen contentedly to the silence.
It’s in and through silence that I can fully engage with reading, or drawing, painting or writing.
In silence I find the possibility of creativity, and creative acts such as reflection, accretion, selection and sedimentation are possible.
My silence isn’t total. I’m not talking about earplugs or sensory deprivation, in fact I find not-quite-silence to be the best of both world, companionable and satisfying.
When there’s the sound of rain on the skylight, or the ticking of coals settling in the stove, when the winds blowing or there’s birdsong, I can enjoy that sound and gently, gradually filter out the cacophony of the rest.
I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. from The Chosen by Chaim Potok
For the first few days I wallowed in the pure pleasure of freedom: no phone calls, no emails, no neighbours. I snuggled into the private silence of the house and walked out to see the fitful sun on the grass and on the sea, to watch the sharp mountain peaks punctuated by cloud, and to let the wind blow through me. To settle into the silence and somehow lower my own expectations – to plan, scheme, rule, manage the days as little as possible. To experience, sense, live, be as much as possible. pg. 40 A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland
I’m very lucky, as our old boat Eileen has opened up the Water Road and it’s there that I’m best able to settle into the silence and enjoy the pure pleasure of freedom that Maitland describes.