Ode to Silence


IMG_4721Here on the shores of the Irish Sea in the quiet cove of Nant Gwrtheryn, I am learning to listen to foreign sounds of silence alongside unfamiliar vowels and consonants, and combinations thereof, that form the Welsh language, Cymreig.

After a grand experiment to shut off the TV for one year(back in the 90’s), I learned to appreciate the quiet. Over the past twenty or so years, I have sinse come to cultivate with higher frequency silent spaces in my life. I have gone to great lengths to ensure that my day includes silence to center and guide my living. After five years of living out in the country off the main roads and along the shores of Maranacook Lake in Maine, I thought I had experienced the sentiment behind the words: deafening silence. But I was woefully mistaken.

So, when I first stepped out of the car on a coastal mountainside in north Wales for that grand view of the coast and the restored quarry village which would be my home for the next five days, I was struck by an eerie silence in the air, of which I was not accustomed to. The silence at Nant Gwrtheyrn was a thoroughly new experience. It was a silence like nothing I’ve ever heard, or not heard, before.

It would seem that in those seemingly quiet spaces back home, I have become accustomed to silence that includes the sounds of birds at the feeder, squirrels a play and the endless buzz of those high electrical wires as background noise.

At Nant Gwrtheyrn, there are no neighbors busy mowing their lawn or playing their music loudly then shouting over the bass to be heard down the hall. No loud chainsaws preparing wood for the winter chill. No loud marina with foghorns and boat motors filling the night sky. No motorbikes off in the distance. Here, along the Atlantic sea, in this hidden remote cove, the background hum of the electrical wires and the road noise of people going to and fro are blaringly absent, just nonexistent.

Here, at Nant Gwrtheyrn, the sheep on the hillside move softly on the edge while the bird song quiets with the setting sun. No breeze to rustle the trees. The sea is as still as I’ve ever seen. There will be no surf to interrupt the deafening silence tonight.

Just lovely silence, empty airwaves, pure as new fallen snow, and as still as dew on the morning grass.

Silence, dear silence, a welcome guest in my home. I savor the peaceful stillness beyond the chaos of love’s encounter. I crave the silence to quench my mindless and busy reaching for all the does not matter. Oh yes, how I love that last quiet moment when morning breaks on dreams dancing into the horizon.

Here ,at Nant Gwrtheyrn, the silence arrives abundant with outstretched arms ready to wrap the weary soul, the learned traveler, the inquisitive mind and the incipient muse.

Here, at Nant Gwrtheyrn, I cozy up and savor the silence, letting it wash over my being and touch the depths of my soul with restorative wisdom like an ancient sage with a young apprentice by her side.

Questions to walk with:

  1. Where in your days do you long for and savor a moment of silence?
  2. How might you find more time and space to commit to the act of being still?
  3. How do you engage in busyness to fill up the space of the deafening silence?
  4. What do you think you might find if you nurtured a spiritual practice of cultivating silence?