Gordon Hempton, “The Sound Tracker” and a world renowned acoustic ecologist states, “silence is an endangered species,” meaning that there are few truly quiet places left in the world. You may shrug at that and snug up your ear buds and rock on. But Hempton warns, “. . . silence is not a luxury, but it’s essential.” Hempton defines silence not as a sound free environment but rather a noise free one. And that defines our modern world. Noisy! Yet silence fosters deep thinking, rest, sleep, unjangled nerves, peace, a sense of rightness. It’s in silent, desert places where Abraham, Moses, Jesus and many have finally heard the voice of God. Is it no wonder that we struggle to hear God in our noise polluted world?
In 2013 I wrote a poem after a Lenten feast of silence in which I did not listen to radio or watch tv for a full year. I found that the quietest place on earth can be a heart focused on and filled with Christ. It was life giving and below is the poem I wrote in response to that delicious time of quiet.
A Feast of Silence
In silence time passes less swift and mechanical for you cannot hear its deadly tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.
In silence ideas fly free as chickadees, flitting from one bare branch to another, leaving imagination in their wake.
In silence loneliness lurks, waffle-soled boots—mud covered—leaving indentations and scuffs on my heart.
In silence words and stories climb out of their caves and sit in front of me like blinking children woken from fabulous dreams.
In silence I hunger for the sweet voice, familiar, resonant, of the one I love.
In silence questions pry up the rocky places in my soul and leave them bare, tender, trembling for answers.
In silence memories wander back up the trail, slapping me on the back, bidding me good day, treating or troubling me according to their given names.
In silence dreams roll over white and billowy and laden dragging dark bottoms.
In silence fear scrabbles up my legs.
In silence freedom like a wind drives impossibilities before it leaving only windswept possibilities.
In silence I hear my own beating heart, the rushing of my own breath, the ticking of my own clock asking, “Is . . . There . . . Someone . . . Out . . . There?”
In silence I feel His voice fill the empty space. Yes.
Published in The Edge of Faith magazine 2018