The Powerful Sound of Silence
A super power people do not often realize I possess is to be quiet.
In fact, if I told some people that, they would laugh. I am an extrovert, outgoing and talkative. I even work out challenges sometimes by talking them out. It is one of those things people remember about me.
Yesterday I was out on some nature trails with a friend. We had driven from our respective homes in Ottawa and Toronto, and met near Peterborough, near the Kawarthas (a collection of lakes and forested area). We went for a trail walk with a few different loops, with some great views as the trees here go through their autumn colours show. We walked for extended periods of time in which I said nothing. My friend good-naturedly remarked on it right away – “I have never heard you be this quiet for so long”.
We had a fantastic hike on the trails, peered in some caves and enjoyed the autumn sunshine. When we parted ways today to head home, we were talking about the highlights and she mentioned the quiet again. I think it’s nice to be able to surprise people sometimes, since I am often very consistent and therefore somewhat predictable.
A long time ago I made a decision – there could be no such think as awkward silences. People often talk about them and about how others will talk to fill the silent space. Or that they have to be comfortable with a person to be able to sit in silence. I decided then that silence was just fine – no matter if it was someone I knew well or not – and that it was only awkward if I thought it was. Once I let it go, the silences were lovely – a chance to just sit with a person, enjoy the view, be in my own head space. I have stayed true to that and enjoyed the silences when they come up.
As for being outdoors – hiking and trail walking, I find it is conducive to the quiet. I am on a trail, someone in front or behind me, so we can’t always hear each other clearly, and I’m taking in all that is around me. It’s a meditative space, as I am sure it is for many people. I have also found it to be a place for philosophical and deeply important conversations as well. Perhaps the periods of silence allow for those conversations to occur, no wasted space, just going for the heart of the matter.
This really reflects a piece of my vision, for balance, for stepping away from the blur of everyday life, spending time with those I care about and enjoying the peace of nature.