meditations on a silence

Hello my very dears,

Well, I’ve been a good little workerbee (except for Saturday which, if you follow rugby, you will understand why I had to go out with some brand-new just-met-at-a-pub friends and let a bunch of Bokke supporters buy me drinks all night), so I can finally write the post I’ve been meaning to for absolute ages.

Before I get to the good stuff, though, I should very much like to draw your attention to this wonderful review of Kipling and Camping at Three Dollar Bill.  It’s delightful, balanced enough so that I’ll believe the good stuff, and just left me feeling very warm and fuzzy.  Thank you, Kassa!

Now then, this is something I’ve wanted to meditate on in writing for some time, and it seems apropos that I talk about silence, after Remembrance Day and before (hopefully) 4’33” becomes the Christmas number one.  That last bit, especially, I’m super-excited about, because it’s…perhaps not easy, but it seems natural for silence to fall when we remember and honour.  It forces a self-contemplation, but it doesn’t seem particularly radical, which 4’33” is and was.  To have silence be a protest to music that is soulless and manufactured, and to have it happen on a day that means celebration and joy will be the most amazing juxtaposition.

Silence is both easy and so difficult to slip into, when it’s not a special time.  It’s so easy to listen to music constantly (and  I’m only just starting to pull away from needing my own personal soundtrack going constantly), or to have noise, or to need to fill the silence yourself.  But in meditation, in walking down the street, in working, it’s something lovely to slip into.

Perhaps a lot of this started when I set down my Quaker-esque path.  Because silence is a way of praying, and a way of listening to what you must know, whether you believe that it comes through God, a general Higher Power, your heart, or all three.  That hour of enforced silence at meeting was often soothing, sometimes uncomfortable, usually welcome, and I miss it since my Sunday’s changed.  But now I walk around outside with friends, and get to the hear the silence of walking up a hill that’s so far above the treeline, spare and sparse and beautiful.  (Okay, silence punctuated by wheezing, but hey!  Same idea!)

It feels twee to call silence a type of prayer, because that feels so limiting.  Being quiet and just listening, or even daydreaming or drifting — to have real silence seems like such a treat for myself lately.  I crave it and, unfortunately, after living in a string of cities, it seems to far gone.

I took my two minutes’ silence naturally on Thursday, because I was (blessedly!) alone in the lab, working on a ceramic piece that is becoming a labour of love, with emphasis on the labour.  It felt quite right, to work so hard on something so old, and remember and be a little sad, and be a little peaceful too.  Perhaps that’s why I like conservation so much — it’s possible, even easy, to fall into silence as I work, and let that be an act of joy, meditating on something that was made and used and has its own story.

I feel, too, like I can’t quite wrap this up — not until I can move out of the city, and live where it’s quieter.  But right now, on my surprisingly quiet street, it’s a silent cold night, and I think I will enjoy what I have.




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