Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Silence, the Soundtrack of Solitude

"Hello, darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again..."

My memory naturally summons the strains of that old Simon and Garfunkel song when I consider the sound of silence. Does silence even have a sound?

In the absence of television, when no music is providing background noise, the sounds that would normally go undetected seem incredibly loud, reminding me how alone I am in the early morning darkness. 

When I am still enough to listen for it, there are so many sounds to be heard in the absence of my own noise. The cadence of the clocks interrupts the quiet, and as I become even more still, I notice my breath, and as it becomes more soft, my awareness grows. 

There is a soundtrack of solitude. The small clock on the mantle, ticking in the offbeat of the clock in the kitchen, is the first thing I notice. The loud click of the central air before the rush of air pushes through the vent overhead startles me, initially. The occasional muffled hum of a passing vehicle heading out of town retreats in the distance. The coo of the mourning dove outside my window is the only birdsong to be heard this early. 
These particular sounds can be quite soothing when I am tired, and need to rest. The house seems to comfort me with its rhythms, feeling like a haven of relaxation. There are few distractions as I type at my computer, willing words and phrases into existence.

"People writing songs that voices never share,
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence."

Later in the day, though, the silence seems deafening. Each movement of the clock's gears, noted with staccato clicks, seems to mock my loneliness, reminding me of the empty bed in my room, the unoccupied chairs around me, and the absence of another voice. Then, the silence becomes the soundtrack of solitude. 

"Fools," said I, "You do not know;
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence.

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