I am moving through the slowly falling snow, back in the woods far from any road. Occasionally I have to duck my head to avoid a branch weighed down with new snow. There is no breeze. Suddenly it hits me. There is no sound right now. I stop to take it in, that rarest of rare finds in our noisy modern world: utter, complete, total silence.
The silence is spooky, yet sacred at the same time. I wonder if my ears are working. The loudest sound is my own heart beating in my chest.
The muffled rumble of a truck on a distant road for a moment breaks the spell. Then, as the echoes fade away, I am back in the serenity of silence.
Have you ever experienced true silence? If you have ever woken up in the still of the night and felt like your thoughts are more concrete and you can make more sense of things, that is what listening to the silence is like. It can feel intrusive. It makes me ponder myself, my existence, and the natural world around me. What is my place here? How do I fit in? Those thoughts are both scary and beautiful, like the silence itself.
That’s why I’ve come to appreciate the silence, true silence. It gives me a chance to reflect on why we’re here and think about things that can make a difference in this life and perhaps the next.
Instead of filling every moment with modern life’s constant intrusive background noise, try listening to the silence. It can be hard to plan into life, but you can do certain things and be certain places that help make it happen. Is your land easily accessible to you? Is it away from main highways? Can you be on it on a Sunday morning or late in the evening or even in the real early morning hours? Can you be there after a new snow fall with no breeze? Or on a perfectly calm day or night in the summer, spring or fall? You can’t plan when the silence will hit, but if you make yourself more available at times like these, you are more likely to experience it. And if you don’t have your own land, you can still listen to the silence in a park or other public land.
This winter, I encourage you to drop those things that fill your ears with noise and go hunting for silence. Silence can make you check out important things that you won’t consider when your life is busy and filled with noise. It might just change your life.