Musings on Silence

Some of my favorite moments are in complete silence.

I’m not often a quiet person. By that, I mean that there’s almost always a record playing, a podcast on, or youtube running in the background. The moments where I actually sit in complete quiet are quite few. But I really enjoy those times when I get them.

There was one of those moments the other day when I was watching the sun rise over Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. I nestled myself into a nook near the edge of the cliff, and was writing in my journal, far enough from the other people watching the canyon light up that I could barely hear them. It was a truly magical time. I was completely cut off from the noise of life, with only the dull roar of the river below and the occasional bird call to interrupt the silence. It made me practice stillness in a way I haven’t done before. True rest.

It’s increasingly difficult to find these moments anymore. Even as I’m writing this post, I’ve got a record on, and I had a couple cups of coffee so I’m super restless and vibrating at supersonic speeds. But even if I was drinking decaf or had it quiet in here, I’d have trouble getting anything out of silence. I’ve got photos all over my walls, plants in every available space, and a myriad of other distractions. Silence isn’t just about literal quiet, but physical calm. If you’re quiet and still, you might not experience silence if you’re in a busy place, or surrounded by other stimuli. You have to have silence of stimulus as well. That’s the part we often forget about.

Sitting at the edge of a cliff, watching the light change slowly, and listening to intermittent chirps, there was little for me to be distracted by. Even the rocks and cliff walls only hold a minute or so of interest, if only because I’d spent the day prior looking at the same stuff. It was a moment of bliss, honestly, because I could breathe, and just be, without having to do anything or check anything, or pay attention to anything other than not falling off the edge. The very definition of tranquility.

I think we all need that but few of us actually get it. I can’t think of anywhere in Colorado Springs that I could find that same tranquility. Even if I were to hike up Pulpit Rock, it overlooks the city, the highway, a million suburbs and neighborhoods to watch and look at. There’s nowhere in the city where I can just be. That’s not a bad thing. Cities have never been my favorite places, never will be. I enjoy the sounds of nature, the cool air of the forest, the rush of flowing water. These things bring me peace, and nowhere within 50 miles of civilization can do that.

We all find peace in different moments. True silence. Maybe for you it’s a nook in a library with a good book. Or an alcove with a window and a cup of tea. Maybe it’s a street corner in Paris with a fresh loaf of bread and the bustle of morning. Or an open field at night, watching the stars turn overhead. Whatever your moment is, I ask that you try to find it this week. It’s easy to forget to slow down and give ourselves rest, but it’s vitally important to keep our minds at ease.

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