The Sounds of Silence



Last week’s post evoked a thought-provoking response from a dear friend. She spoke of her craving for less noise, for more silence in her life, the better to reflect upon memories and events. Even the uncomfortable ones.

For me it’s not the absence of sound, but rather the kinds of sound which allow for re connection, for quiet contemplation. Sounds like those in nature, like gentle rain, or perhaps my favourite music, or the sounds of a fire crackling in the grate. This last example is for my Northern Hemisphere friends because the last thing I want at present is more heat. But I digress.

You’ll notice I make a distinction between noise and sound. The first, something to be endured, the second, to be enjoyed and valued. So silence for me isn’t the absence of sound. It’s respite from the pandemonium of our modern lives, ‘the noisy tumult, uproar, chaotic din’ derived from two Greek words: pan meaning all and demonium alluding to demons. How apt.


In my recent travels to Far North Queensland, we visited Cedar Creek Falls, which at the time of our visit were less fall and more trickle. But the effect was no less.

While the family swam and wallowed in the deep pool beneath the waterfall, I sat with my feet in the shallows and surrendered to the sensory wash. I think the Japanese call it ‘forest bathing’.

The tall cliffs and surrounding bush created an enclosed sanctuary-like effect. We could have been the only human beings on earth. The air was close with the hum of insects, the background of murmuring water and quiet talking was amplified and made intimate by the circling embrace of cliffs. I closed my eyes and tried to distinguish each of the sounds, becoming aware of the caress of warm air across my skin, the cool water over my feet, the rustle of leaves above my head.

These are the sounds of silence for me. A spiritual replenishing


A man once told Buddha

“I want happiness.”

Buddha replied,

“First remove the ‘I’; that’s ego.

Then remove the ‘want’; that’s desire

And now all you’re left with is Happiness.”





37 responses to “The Sounds of Silence

  1. Definitely. It’s all those little sounds that usually go unremarked in the ordinary course of events. I like the combination of the occasional crackle or sputter from a slow fire, and a ticking clock – but very few clocks tick nowadays.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the sound of rain falling on my tent as long as its not persistent for days. its been raining this morning but seems to be clearing so we will be off out for a cycle ride. its about 4C at present so will wrap up well. have a great day

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the quote. Love the post. The latest buzzword is ‘mindfulness’ which in a nutshell is the practice of deliberate awareness. Slowing down, pausing, fully engaging in our experience. Listening, smelling, touching, tasting. Self-awareness. In our busy, stressful, technology-filled world people just don’t take the time to absorb the moment. I think everyone needs to experience ‘forest bathing’ in whatever way it is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hear you (a street idiom here, meaning . . . well, pretty much what it says).

    And I can hear well “the hum of insects, the background of murmuring water and quiet talking . . . amplified and made intimate by the circling embrace of cliffs.” As a child I liked the quiet talking of my parents and a “circling embrace” of family-like love.

    The photographs here have their say too. Good listening!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Albert you have hit the nail on the head ( another idiom) So often I let sounds wash over me without really hearing them. There is something about the sound of water in nature that inveigles its way into my consciousness and focuses my attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post, I love the photos, and I love the wisdom in the quote. I’m sitting here in the “little library” with Charley. He’s reading the newspaper as I type away. ZuZu is sleeping on his lap and the two of us keep looking at each other and chuckling because the sound of her snoring is annoying Roxie who keeps on whining at us to “shut the little hairball up”. Beautiful sounds on a winter’s day. Thank you , Robyn

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post, Clare. I can just picture you and Charlie with ZuZu snoring away on his lap and Roxie whining her displeasure. Such a snug scene on a Winter’s day. I hope your trip away was fruitful and now you’re back into the new venture with gusto!

      Liked by 1 person

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