09 March 2010

s i l e n c e

[film - april 2009]

I've been thinking about noise, or rather the lack thereof - silence.  I covet, long for, live for, silence.  I've always been like that.  Sure, I enjoy music, but really when it comes down to it, I prefer the humming of my own thoughts, and the organic noises around me - the creaking of my old house, the occasional sighs of the heater, my own slow and steady breaths.
One of my Native American Studies professors told us about a belief (I forget which nation it's from, sorry) about silence.  The people thought that silence was very important for balance, and any noise you produced altered the very environment around you.  Because of this, they felt it was crucial to think carefully about every word you said and sound you made, because its energies would put forth a change.  And all change brings consequences - good and bad.
Growing up, my brother played a lot of video games with all sorts of explosions reverberating from his machines.  Many, many arguments were over the level of noise infiltrating my quiet oasis of a room.  When I watch movies or listen to music, the volume is set very low and I never walk anywhere with an iPod.  I wonder where I picked up this preference, or if it's just a natural inclination.  My mother always warned against "mental drool," which she ascribed to being needless chatter, and to this day, I am a woman of  few words.  Not entirely true, as I do love debating and philosophizing and conversing, but I think twice about the words, the ideas, the noises I am letting forth.
Last night I got to fall asleep to the sound of rain, which is always a treat after a long winter of silent snow.  This goes to say that there are certainly noises I long for, that I prefer.  Perhaps I have an aversion to "unnatural" noise.  I'd certainly choose the quiet drumming of the rain on the roof over the pounding bass of a passing car any day.
What about you?  Do you crave silence?  Do you like constant noise?  Somewhere in the middle?


  1. silence is my favorite sound.

    and i say this knowing that there is no such thing as silence. for even it has a noise. but i like the sound of silence. distinguishing the individual noises within the nothing. turning off my own thoughts. turning off the material noises around me. and simply taking whatever the worlds feels like offering that day.
    it's the most beautiful song.

    LOVE the thoughts you placed here.
    and i love your watercolor a few posts ago :)

  2. Silence I always crave. Stillness. Quiet. Hush. Only then, it seems, can I hear the whirl of thoughts in my head.

  3. i love this post! i think i'm somewhere in the middle...simply because i like music so much. i alternate between silence and music. i'm alone most of the day and i love my solitude. i love that native american belief about silence and thinking about the words you choose to say. this was such a great reminder!

  4. hi! yes, i am still accepting emails for the "i love being a woma project"...would love you to send yours along! just send me your list whenever you're ready. i've received so many lists--so it might take a while before i post yours, but i'll post it eventually for sure!
    thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such lovely comments!

  5. beautiful thoughts and photo.

  6. Well, I think we may be similar when it comes to sounds and noise... I too prefer the sound of the my own thoughts (which on occasion, it's filled might be songs) and the quiet and peace of home.

    Bill (the husband) will often come into a room where I've been working and be astonished at the silence. "Why don't you have the radio on? Music, anything...?" Well... Frankly, there was music in my head or in the rythm of my work, actually, and that was plenty for me. Any other sounds would have been intrusive and therefore noise. To me.

    And the funny thing is that there really isn't silence at all. Even silence has a distinctive hum to it...no?

    I so enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for writing it, dear.



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