Unlike former times in my life, our house is pretty quiet most of the time. People have said that they feel that they need to whisper in our house. Which is not the case at all. I'm not anti-noise. I don't tiptoe around the house all day long. But you see, it's usually just Tim and I in this house after all and during the day, Tim is working and I guess I'm just not a noisy person. So for comparison sake: if our home were a primary school, we are not the playground, we are not the library, but we are more the classroom. Yes I suppose it is a rather quiet house.
But exactly how quiet is a quiet house anyway? Right now I hear the clicking of the keys on the keyboard as I type, the phone ringing in Tim's office, the gentle whir of the overhead fan, the drone of the dehumidifier, a large truck just rumbled past the house and off somewhere in the distance is the hum of the air conditioner and a grumble of thunder. And that's just this moment. Oftentimes there is the chime of the washer or dryer, the musical beep of the dishwasher or the annoying dings of the timer when I'm cooking and ah, hear that? There is someone at the door.
On a nicer day when the windows are open I can hear the church bells from down the street, boat horns and the blast from the North bridge just before it goes up. The barking of someone's dog, people talking as they walk by and lord help us when the lawn guys start working. There could be the noise of my vacuuming or it might be the clatter of my cooking or baking with water running and tea kettles singing, and let's not even discuss my squeaky sandals. (hey! it's my favourite pair! Not my fault that they squeak when I walk).
On the other hand, there are no crying babies or screaming toddlers or howling dogs or hissing cats at this particular moment in time. There is no Television blaring in the background nor music playing. And right now, in this brief lovely window of time, there are no builders or contractors of any sort hammering, sawing, clatterbanging, or swearing under their breath. But it's still not silent. The fact of the matter is, even a quiet house is not quiet. And there was a time when that was news to me.
Way, way back, a million years ago, when I was in college, the professor in one of my writing courses assigned us to sit in a silent room for a half hour and then write about what we heard. A few of us wise-asses joked that we would be turning in blank pages. To my surprise, the longer I sat in that silent room, the noisier it got! By the end, I could have sworn that I could hear my heart beating. It was amazing what I could hear when I really bothered to stop and listen.
It's a noisy old world out there, my friends, and getting noisier all the time. I think that to protect ourselves from the constant onslaught, we subconsciously consign a lot of it to background sound and ignore it. But it's there and it's still assaulting us all the time. One of the things I love about being out in the woods, the forest, the mountains, the desert, the beach or on the water, is the silence. The peacefulness of it. I find myself relaxing in ways that indicate how tense I must have been before and I didn't even realize it. Of course the forest makes noise, so does the ocean, the mountains and the desert. But it's a different kind of noise. It's a lovely sound, it's gentle and rather than being a sound intruding into the environment, it's a sound that helps to create the environment.
Remember that wonderful old Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Sounds of Silence"? Okay, I get it now.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.