There is something to be said for silence.
Still, quiet tranquility.
Where I find her- my quietude, is on an oft-silent side road on the western end of a snow-covered Island, just before evening turns to velvet night. There is a little inlet that leads to a river and there the water is just starting to break through the ice-covered cap that has blanketed the flow since late January. Yesterday, I found ducks paddling along in single-file formation, moving like something from a black and white film feature from the thirties. The water, moving ever-so-leisurely- I paused for a moment while on my mission (aiming for the mailbox on the right-hand side of the road, where I then turn and head back toward home) to notice.
I have to train myself to take it all in, where sometimes I am more prone to rush right on by.
Walking is a calming exercise for me. I can feel the layers from the day sliding away like a heavy cloak that needs to be shed. The tension dissipates with each step forward and each slap of rubber on pavement. I press on. Past the melting rivulets of water that form a triangular waterway down the middle of the road, past the barking dog, the whispering pines. I press on toward the growing quiet I feel now both without and within.
All is quiet.
Serenity is knowing that there is a place we can return to again and again when life gets too loud and too demanding. For there are so many voices calling, so many noises pressing in. Our hearts can’t take it all sometimes.
We see it on the news, on our social media sites, in our workplaces, in our circles. It is in our homes. Life is just too loud and busy and frantic and chaotic. Where is the still, peaceful tranquility we so crave and require?
Lately, there has been news delivered to those I love, those I care deeply about. Some news of which, when conveyed- feels as if the world is shouting in my direction, in their direction: “Hear ye, hear ye- there will be doom, and gloom and horrible things that will bury you and smother you with sadness.” Shouting voices- sharp, piercing and pointed, all with the intent to jar one from their reverie. It feels as if the noise will suffocate me- bury us all. That it will overpower us with its cloud-like cover. Stifling us until all life is snuffed out like the stub of a candle that has reached the end of its wick. We are being asphyxiated by the weight of it all- this tremendous clatter, bearing down hard on our souls.
My Grampie M. was a humble man, an unassuming, hard-working salt-of-the-earth type. Life for him was never easy- most of his days were spent with an ever-watchful eye on his son born with Down Syndrome, but life was full. To my knowledge, he lived the entirety of his eighty-nine years long life without ever raising his voice. There were changes at the end, due to the dementia, but when he was living with all his faculties and awareness, his meekness led him to live a life of quiet grace.
He used to place his work-roughened, grease-blackened hand upon my head and say with a gentle chuckle, ‘That’s a good little head.’ His calm assurance always left me feeling that all would be well. When Grampie M. knew that something was about to reach a feverish pitch- when all of hell’s bells were about to sound: he would amble out to his carpentry shop and reach for his hammer. And he would pound wood with nail after nail to drown out the sounds. He was that kind of man- he embraced the repetitive sound of steel on wood over the noise of clashing voices or tension of any sort.
Sometimes we crave the Hand of a Father on our heads, gently reassuring us of this hopeful desire, written on all our hearts no matter how hardened and weathered they might be: a desire to know that all is well. There will be peace. For there is hope in the noisy ‘here-and-now’- peace even in this messy present in which we live. And all because that Peace has come; there is a place of rest for the worn and weary. There is respite. There is reprieve. There is a place of quiet, tranquil solitude for those who yearn for a space to go where the world is hushed and the noise is muted.
“Come, all who are weary. And I will give you rest.”
There is a place I like to go when life gets too noisy. Too riotous and rowdy. It is my respite when the clamour of everyday living becomes too raucous and commotion reaches peak levels. And in that place, my weary soul finds rest.
I find my quiet in the still of the evening.