I recently read an article about a celebrity who enjoyed hiking. In. silence.
A somewhat surprised tone came through the piece that she hiked, in nature… without. an. ipod.
In an instant, this raised questions in my mind about silence and how we see it. Because, silence, to me, is a state worth striving for – a little burst of quiet that can lead to rejuvenation, positive introspection and an overall sense of calm. Wondrous, oui?
At what stage did our society move into such a busy, noise-filled space that the many benefits arising from natural sounds, or complete silence, became an oddity worth noting? In my thinking, part of the pleasure of spending time hiking up a mountain, or spending any time outdoors, is the joy of hearing sounds natural to that environment. What’s not to love about the sound of wind in the trees, birds in the sky or your breath as you stride toward a summit?
True silence is almost impossible to achieve. Daily life, even the most detached from urban busyness, has abundant sound. From the start of the day there are sounds in every aspect of our lives. This constant sound can be enlivening for some, however for the many of us, there’s a need to step off every now and then and have a restorative break.
In my world I find silence seldom. There is environmental noise of being in the city, endless chatter from small children, or other adults, electric devices whirring away and the sounds made by all manner of technology.
While I cannot prevent much of the daily noise I encounter, I choose to minimise the aspects that I can control. For the most part, this is technology. I know that when sound is all too wearing, I can leave the phone behind. I leave the tv off. I steer clear of the computer and leave the ipod unplugged.
When there is silence, I treasure the moments: lying in the sun staring at the sky while the children play, creating words and art, buried in an absorbing novel or enjoying that last time at the end of the day when there’s a glorious last silence before going to sleep.
For those of us who do revel in some silence with the day, how do you reconnect?
Read more on the benefits of silence.