Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Solace of Silence

© Jon Helgason |

Christmas can be such a noisy time of year, filled with all manner of fabulous sounds--the jingling of sleigh bells, the clomping of reindeer hooves on the rooftops, the carols, children’s laughter, The Messiah, and the screeching of UPS trucks delivering last-minute packages. But even better, in my opinion, than all the beautiful music and joyful jingling of bells, is the kind of silence that winter brings. As far as real stillness and quietude goes, anyone who’s ever walked in the winter woods can tell you there’s nothing quite like this season for silence.
         I  have a dear friend who loves silence and is always talking and writing about it. The reasons she loves it are many, but among them is the pure capacity of silence for self-healing. When I sit quietly on a winter morning, light a candle and gaze at the trees outside my window, all seems right with the world. With the windows closed (no, I’m not crazy enough to leave them open!) I can’t even hear the pecking of the woodpecker as he flits from tree to tree. Let me be honest—winter is my least favorite season. Yet I look forward to its arrival every year, because with it comes a sense of peace. And though I rather envy those who live out west or on tropical islands, for me, winter is a healing tonic—it’s a time to seek and fuel the warmth within my own heart, since it’s so damned cold outside!
          My favorite winter sound is barely audible-- snow falling, tapping gently against a window or settling on the boughs of a pine tree. I also like the muted sound of snow under foot—the scrunching noise under boots when I step outside to clear a path (snow blowers may be a necessity for some, but I much prefer the determined scrape of a shovel).
          Yes, I know that just a few miles from my house cars are tearing up the highways to the malls, kids are whining for candy canes and toys, and couples are arguing about how high the credit card bills will be after the holidays. But in my home, on a winter’s morning, all is silent--at least until the kids get home from college.
          Winter’s silence is somehow different than any other I’ve encountered (in other seasons there always seems to be a cricket chirping somewhere or a screen door slamming). When I imagine what life would be like without it, I realize that silence is an extraordinary gift, and a cold winter's day is the perfect time to enjoy it.


1 comment: