Noisy Silence (July 2013)
Do you ever sit in a quiet room and listen, I mean truly listen? Close your eyes and pay attention. I can hear the wind off my balcony gently blowing through the trees. I can hear my refrigerator humming its ubiquitous sound of cold. I can hear the highway and a steady drone of cars whizzing by. A bird, a gull I think, probably searching for lunch, loudly. There’s a banging, somebody doing construction. Oh yes and a car horn screeching its presence. Oops, a car alarm screams in protest, at what I do not know. A truck backs up punctuating the world with his irritating beep, beep, beep, beep…
You see I believe true silence is illusory. Even when a room is deathly quiet it is not silent. Spend some time in a library. It is one of the noisiest places that advocates silence. Listen carefully. The librarian is admonishing someone for something. Someone else is on the phone directing someone to the appropriate department. With the advent of computers there is a constant clicking of the keyboards. I can hear pages turning, sometimes in anger. There is the irritated sigh as someone looks for a book but cannot find it. Pages rustle and footsteps clack on the uncarpeted floor. There is no silence here.
Once upon a time our world was much quieter. We didn’t have cars and computers and the ever present hum of electricity. Our nights were darker, we didn’t have the light pollution of all the towns around us. I believe as a people we were calmer. Now we want more and more. No matter what we have, we crave new and better. What is that? What is it the psychobabble of the day is saying: relax, chill, be cool. Well it’s true! We live noisy and harried lives. We rarely seem to take the time to stop and smell the roses. Even when we relax it’s doing something energetic and noisy. Ah yes, the sounds of silence: the ever present white noise that surrounds our lives. They actually sell machines that emit white noise because it is often difficult to sleep when things are too quiet.
I wonder if we would know what to do if all sound stopped. I wonder if people who are completely deaf actually experienced true silence? All I know is that my world is noisy and sometimes irritating and I love it all!