Saturday, September 27, 2014

continuing silence


  I was sitting on the roof of my car, greedily sucking in the fall colors blazing from a grove of Aspen trees. Yellows, reds, greens and oranges, they seemed almost confectionery in their warm hues.
  A car pulled in behind my perch. I could hear the stereo and the slam of a door. "Please, please, please, turn off your stereo", i silently pleaded. The car's engine had been turned off, but the music kept playing. I concentrated on trying to tune it out. I have become very adept at mentally blocking out the noise of those around me.
  Soon i felt a presence near me. It always mystifies me how we can sense someone near us, even though we do not see or hear them.
  I looked down from my roof and there was a woman standing next to my car. She said hello, and told me that she had been photographing me in my reverie. She told me that she would send me the pictures if i provided her with my phone number. I was surprised out of my absorption with the view by this thoughtful gesture from a complete stranger. I let her know that i don't speak and gave her my phone number with a quiet gesture of gratitude.
   As the woman made her way back to her car, it occurred to me that i had been sitting there quite a while, and i should move to let her have an unobstructed view of the beautiful colors. I could hear her music playing as i waved and departed.
  Later that evening, i received 2 photographs on my cell phone. There i was, small against the beautiful backdrop of Aspens, quietly watching the trees, with no one else in sight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

continuing silence


  Clutter in a house, a picture, or a life, is busy noise. While minimalism is clear and quiet.
  Noise is often associated with activity. But towards what end?
  There is strength in quiet. Silence is resolve.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

continuing silence


  We had decided to take a mountain drive and see some autumn color. The ride started with an exchange of pleasantries, but busy traffic soon made much communication between us untenable.
  At first, the car stereo was playing. But because of the mountainous terrain, the signal faded out. So my friend used her cell phone to fill the void of having a mute passenger.           Before long, the cell reception also died, so she began to whistle.
  I was preparing myself for the inevitable injuries i would sustain by jumping out of the moving car, when i suddenly recognized the opening theme from the Andy Griffith Show. We were driving in the back country and my friend was whistling the tune from Andy Griffith.
  It was one of those absurdly perfect moments that are always so brief, but will stand out in your memory more than your entire junior year of high school.
  The radio signal soon reestablished itself. My friend raised the volume and began tapping out a rhythm on the steering wheel. I put my window down and stuck my head out of the car. I enjoy the rush of the wind and the quiet rumble in my ears.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

continuing silence


  If there existed such things as angels, and they were ever moved to applaud, it would sound like a September breeze blowing through a grove of Aspens.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

continuing silence


  When someone "pays" attention to you, they are literally spending a part of their life in order to hear what you have to say. This places an incredible and heavy responsibility on you. 
  Just shutting up can be very liberating as well as philanthropic. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

continuing silence


  A deep and encompassing fog was absorbing everything into its self. I jerked my car over to the side of the road and scrambled down the steep ravine in order to fully experience it. I sat myself down on a rock outcropping, eagerly anticipating being fully enveloped by the incoming cloud.
  I watched the fog's tidal flow slowly climb up the walls of the deep valley. The bright sun was on my back and the thick blue of the sky rested on top of the encroaching white mist. I was completely mesmerized.
  I felt a shadow cross over me from the road above. Some people had pulled over their s.u.v. The car engine shut off, mercifully stifling the thump of loud music. Doors slammed and boisterous exclamations ensued, as they photographed one another standing in front of the beauty that was unfolding in the distance.
  "Helloooo down there!!", someone yelled at me, or no one in particular. I maintained my silence with my back towards them as the fog drew closer.
  Soon the car doors slammed once again, the engine turned over, and the beat of music reasserted itself. The noise faded into the distance as the car moved further and further away.
  I suddenly noticed that there were ripe raspberries hanging from little bushes all around my perch. I picked a few and munched contentedly as the fog began to wrap around me. It was cool, quiet and one of the most beautiful things i have ever experienced.

Friday, September 12, 2014

continuing silence


  Max hates loud noise.
  He is pretty tough looking and people are intimidated by his appearance. They have no idea that he is one of the most mellow, thoughtful dogs that i care for. Sometimes, he'll just come to a complete stop while we're walking, as if he's pondering something. It will take some insistence on my part to get him moving again, but he eventually does, in an almost condescending way.
  The only thing that disturbs Max's aloof temperament is noise. He almost cowers when a bus roars by us. He will not cross a street if there is a loud truck waiting at the light. He despises those guitar players in the park and will steer us far away from them. Sometimes, i cover his ears and that seems to help. He's the only dog i know who behaves this way, and he is one of my favorites.
  The other odd thing about Max is that i've never, ever, heard him bark. Not once.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

continuing silence


  He wanted to chat so much that he nearly killed us both.
  I'd dropped off the car and the shuttle driver was giving me a lift home. He was a really nice guy and we were the only people in the van, so i guess he wanted to talk. I didn't speak, so he assumed i was hearing impaired.
  Often when people assume i'm hearing impaired, they will write down whatever they want to say to me. I consider these to be win-win situations, as it makes for 2 silent people instead of just one. The more quiet the better, as far as i'm concerned. Although i may be inclined to change my opinion...
  The driver began furiously writing down conversational queries on a note pad, while he was driving. I kept my responses to plainly visible nods and head shakes as i nervously watched the road ahead of us. Every time he looked downwards to write something out, the van would veer off to the right or left. I tried looking out the side window, but he was determined, and as i felt the van lurch off course, he would wave his note pad in front of me. I "dropped" the pad more than once, taking my time to find it, just so he would look out the windshield occasionally. But his insistence on helping me look for it after the third drop, squelched that strategy.  This person was a great conversationalist and he wasn't going to let a little vehicular homicide deter him. I was less terrified on Space Mountain.
  We eventually made it to my house in one piece because he wound up taking a cell phone call as he gazed out the front windshield. I'm against people chatting on the phone while driving, but in this case i was willing to make an exception.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

continuing silence


  When i look up at the moon and stars, their deep quiet pulls at me. It's a feeling like the effect of buoyancy in a thick, dark ocean. I feel as if i'm going to be pulled right out of my shoes.
  Space is quiet. There is no sound out there. The motion picture roar of rocket ships is a fabrication. Earth is no more than a pin prick of noise in an infinite silence.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

continuing silence


  In our culture, displaying a general lack of emotion is equated with being "cool". By default, being silent is to appear "cool".
  But the ironic truth is, my silence has amplified my awareness of, and my emotions towards, everything around me so much that i've become utterly, completely, and irretrievably uncool.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

continuing silence


  One of my favorite places in the world (so far) is on top of this mountain located about an hour and a half from where i live. It is not my favorite place all the time, just on the evening of every Labor Day.
  I go there every year to celebrate my release from summer's fetid grasp. I also go because on that night, it is one of the quietest places i have ever experienced.
  It is always cold and the wind howls as i weave my way around and over the granite boulders to the summit. In the darkness, the sharp rock glints and flashes, deflecting the moon's intrusive gaze. No one else is ever there on this last night of accessibility. In the morning, they will close the park entrance gates for the season.
  When i reach the top, i watch the stars while the moon watches me. Occasionally, the wind will stop to inhale, and the momentary pause is so exquisitely, achingly,  quiet.

Monday, September 1, 2014

continuing silence


  When i was a kid, it was at about this time every summer that my father would drive the whole family to an old farm house in Maine. It had no electricity, no plumbing, and no phone. I remember thinking it was the greatest place in the whole world.
  I can also remember my father saying it was great to get away from it all, especially the telephone. This was before cell phones, so when you "got away from it all", you actually did. It was so quiet there (as quiet as it could be for a family with 5 kids.....). I wonder if families would even consider that a vacation anymore.
  My Dad is gone, the farm burned down, and telephones have become parts of our bodies. Maybe "getting away from it all" and "peace and quiet" are old fashioned notions that are gone as well.
  A friend of mine told me that my silence is a burden on those around me. Perhaps someone being quiet is burdensome to our modern society. It is similar to riding a horse on a freeway.