There a days I crave silence. Not just quiet but pure silence. This is hard to find in our world today. As the Grinch said, “All the noise, noise, noise…” I don’t think I realized just how much residual noise we deal with daily until I was home one day and we lost power. No appliance sounds from the refrigerator, the furnace, clocks, computers humming along. There was such a calmness that came over me and the house. I actually was sad to hear the power come back and all that noise.
And then there is the noise of the road as we drive. We spend so much time in our cars with their noises; the noises from the traffic, the road. It can be deafening and it certainly adds to my stress when I drive. The most peaceful time is when there are few cars around, the scenery is beautiful and there is very little noise from the car. You can almost be hypnotized and lulled into a meditative state at these times. Not quite remembering how you got to your destination.
I remember camping a few years ago with friends. We were in the Adirondack Mountains at a camp site with a beach surrounded by other campers and their noise. But as the evening fell upon us the noise lessened. As night fell and we all crawled into our sleeping bags, I again heard it or I should say didn’t hear it. There was complete silence. Not a sound in the woods. No frogs, no insects. Nothing. And I lay there trying to sleep, finding I could not. The silence was unnerving. I needed some sort of noise to fall asleep. I thought how pathetic is this. It took hours for me to fall asleep. After a few days though, I got used to the silence and again craved it…welcomed it. Fell asleep easily.
But this silence is not the world we live in. As a child, I was always either listening to the TV or radio when I did homework. Needed that background noise to concentrate on certain tasks. I even find now I need some sort of background noise to fall asleep-TV, sound of waves etc. Then there are times I need quiet. To read and study…to write. And I know it is the way our brains sometimes work. How we are wired.
So back to reality and the world today. With the stress of our hectic lives we all need ways to find calm. To quiet the noise in our heads. And I can bet we all crave silence at some point in our day or week. To meditate and listen just to our breathe. To reconnect with the earth and its natural rhythms. So where can you find that calming silence. For me it is in my garden. Most days the noises of nature are all around me in the garden. Birds singing, insects buzzing, plants rustling in the wind. But I find these calming noises. Lovely noises. And when the song birds fly south, I miss their noise in the fall. There is an eerie silence that falls upon the garden. One that I get used to again, but I know with this quiet the snows will soon come to the garden.
Gardeners talk about winter gardens and winter interest-four seasons of gardening. For me that means leaving enough of the garden grasses and plants in the garden so the snow will catch in them and form great piles of white puffs. Then there are the bushes that show color. How so you say? By planting bushes that have red twigs or red berries in winter. What an incredible sight in winter next to the pure white snow, the color of red. And the birds will love you for the berries. Red twig dogwood bushes are hardy and easy to grow for the red twigs. Holly and Winterberry for red berries.
True silence in the garden can only be found in winter. If you have ever taken a walk in nature when it is snowing, you know what I mean. The snow insulates you into a sort of cocoon where there is no noise. Pure silence…..sounds muffled….and so it is when it snows in my garden. The world is covered in a white blanket that softens all noise…a beautiful peace falls upon me as I walk among this white.
I think that is why snow brings a holiday feeling as well. Joy and peace….think of the joy we had as children playing outside in the snow…yes we were cold but who cared? We stayed out until we were numb….now I get nostalgic for these times although I cannot stand the cold as much. I do so love to walk outside in the winter especially when it is snowing…not windy though…just a quiet falling snow.
There is a Hebrew Proverb that says, “Silence is a healing of all ailments.” And I find that silence where and when I can. Though I am used to the noisy world, I know I would rather have the quiet, the solitude and the silence from time to time.