This morning I took a walk in the cold crisp air with some dogs I have the pleasure of taking care of. I was struck by the profound presence of silence. The loudest sound I heard was the sound of my own footfalls, my sneakers crunching on the gravel. The dogs were much quieter than I, their footfalls barely discernable unless they started to run.
In the distance I heard the yips of coyotes. And occasionally I heard some birdsong.
I heard no cars. I heard no humming wires. I heard no planes, no phones, no machines, no human voices. Just blessed silence and the sound of my own feet.
There is such sweetness in a silence such as this. It is quite easy to associate silence with peace. Just the vast world of nature – the great silent mountains, the great silent desert valley, the great silent sky.
When we are home, perhaps we can also give ourselves the gift of silence. We can turn off our phones, turn off our computers, the t.v., any music which might be playing. When we get silent, we will hear occasionally the sound of our machines – the hum of the refrigerator, the sound of an ice maker making ice, the tiny buzz of electricity, the heat turning on. (Hint: a crackling fire often adds to the perception of peace rather than detracting from it.) But as we sit and breathe, we can become one with our breath and revel in the beautiful serenity of silence.