Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day #306 Silence

I think it would be safe to say that most people associate silence with nighttime. Fifty-four years ago, in October of 1957, when I was in fifth grade, my father bundled me up in a gray and black blanket late one night and took me outside to watch the sky over Colorado Springs. Sputnik, the first human-made orbiting intrusion into space, tumbled its way across the background of stars. (In 1957 one could still see jillions of stars.) Against their spangles, Sputnik skipped in eerie silence. Eerie because I was old enough to have picked up on my parents’ fears about the possible launch of ballistic missiles.

In school over the next number of months, we had drills in which we sat—in silence, another kind of silence—beneath our desks with our heads ducked beneath our arms for protection. That was a silence stippled with fear and later, when the drills became old hat, and when we realized the enormity of what a nuclear attack would entail, with desks as scant protection, those were silences laced with derision.

We all have had numerous instances of silence in our lives. The silence of sitting next to a sick child, listening to each labored breath. The silence of that moment when we know the fever has turned and all will be well. The silence of sitting with a dying parent, knowing that the next breath might be the last. The silence of hearing that last breath and waiting for another that will never come. The silence of walking through a woodland park, unaware of the thunder from the interstate just one mile away, listening to the multi-faceted silence of bird song, coupled with the awareness that that particular kind of silence used to be a lot louder before pesticides and fertilizers and clear-cutting destroyed so many of our songbirds.

There is the silence now when we may sit with quiet around us, yet feel bombarded by questions and concerns from within that we cannot silence.

I find I much prefer the buzzy silence of my bees as I listen and almost don’t listen because I’m getting to be so used to their sound.

There is the silence now of ending this blogpost—my writing it, your reading it.

What silences do you remember and which ones have you forgotten to remember?

BEEattitude for Day # 306:
       Blessed are those who know how to be quiet in their own minds, for they shall radiate peacefulness to others.

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