The Enjoyment of Quiet


Noise once energized me. Radios, televisions, sound systems, headphones, traffic cacophony, airport pandemonium, subway racket, murmuring crowds, crying babies, barking dogs, roaring lawnmowers, crashing dishes dropped in a restaurant. Background racket provided a sense of belonging and made it impossible to feel alone. Immersion in sound kept me alert and ready for action. Raised in New York, I perceived silence as abnormal and a warning of lurking danger. I accepted sound as a virtual constant. Then I seasoned and appreciate the absence of sound.

I now live in a suburban area isolated from, yet within a mile of, a mall, movies, business offices, a super-large retailer, and a warehouse store.  An interstate is less than two miles away. The area is busy, until the people attractors close. I enjoy the lull.

Silence comforts me. There’s nothing better than to be still in absolute quiet and listen for the farthest sound.  Once the mall closes, I hear traffic noise, a firecracker or a gun being shot (hopefully it’s hunting season), and car doors slammed as neighbors come and go. Around midnight on weekends, I hear drag racers on the interstate and an occasional siren. Early morning before dawn, a dog barks, an owl hoots, a commercial garbage bin is dropped after it’s emptied, miles away a train whistles.  Eventually, if I’m lucky, I hear and feel my breathing and heart beat.

Daytime quiet is a rarity. I’m alerted by the absence of sound. It signals that I should stop what I’m doing, clear my mind, and think. I start with my day–what I’ve done, what I plan to do. Then I get my laptop or paper and pen, and write. Not only is silence comforting, I find it motivating.


Author: Phyllis Stewart

Blogging to the seasoned who do not view television as a primary mode of entertainment, who prefer being active over being sedentary, and who enjoy learning.

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