The Silence that Wakes Me

Originally published in the Dickinson County News

In this crazy loud world of constant motion and emotion, I’m one of those people who often finds herself craving silence.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a people person, and I love being social. I couldn’t live without my friends and family. I’m always looking for new people to meet and converse with.

But that’s just one part of me. There’s another part that needs to get away from this and be silent.

An old roommate of mine used to share this need. We had a sort of code when we weren’t in the mood for “people” – and by “people,” we meant the ones with whom we couldn’t share silence. In these moods, we would rarely go to our rooms and avoid each other. Silence didn’t necessarily mean we weren’t communicating, we just weren’t filling our worlds with noise.

Not long ago, I was hanging out with another friend in silence, and thought about how I have grown to like the fact that we can be quiet together. We have no need for constant conversation. The pauses are not awkward. The silence is comfortable. It’s rare. Maybe it’s not something everyone needs or appreciates, but for me there’s something to be said for the sort of bond you can have with someone and just be silent.

Maybe this silence-seeking part of me is why spring is my favorite season. We’ve all had cabin fever for months, and most of us are ready to just go outside and breath in the newness of spring. It’s the time of year when we can sit together in silence and watch the sunset, enjoy the breeze off the lake and be silent. Even the most jumpy souls can be quieted by this celebration of spring.

Silence came up in another conversation over lunch with coworkers. We were talking about the strange things that keep us from sleeping. Some people need the noise of the television or radio. Some need total darkness. Some need complete silence.

The comment that brought me an “ah ha” moment was when one of my colleagues admitted to waking up when there was silence. She is so accustomed to sleeping with noise, it was the lack of noise that stirred her from her sleep.

“It’s the silence that wakes me,” she said.

This is so true, I thought, but in a more metaphorical way then she intended.

Maybe that’s why I like the silence. In all the noisy distractions of the world, sometimes it’s the silence that wakes me.

“There are times when silence has the loudest voice.” – Leroy Brownlow