That Bliss of Silence!

In my mind’s eye, this is where I would like to be – a house in the midst of a thicket or a forest. A gurgling stream nearby, and when the woods are in leaf you see nothing beyond that foliage. Or then, perhaps, a glass-walled house, open to the majestic ocean, the sky and the gulls… the constant lashing of waves at the footstep – a gentle reminder of tides and rhythms, as old as life. Or what then, of a lakefront property – tranquil and quiet, where the casual visitor lives a mile away; Where the birds and the bees have decided to home with you, by day, their songs and hums are a constant companion, while the night brings with it a persistent choir of crocking frogs and loud crickets, ready to perform the minute the sun decides to rest. If you don’t count the cat and the dogs, I’d be a happy trooper being on my own with rarely a human in sight! Strange are these thoughts, and if they’d come to pass, I often wonder how I’d treat solitude or more importantly, how it would treat me.

 I’ve often prided myself at cherishing the quiet, peaceful solace of solitude, where thoughts may roam free, as could you. Without the confines of social behavior, many of us may enjoy that liberating freedom that only solitude can afford. It’s much like chipping away the unnecessary and the bashful, slowly creating your own spot of heaven… the house could be rustic and cozy or a sweeping majesticity of polished rooms and grand comforts. You’d be alone but not lonely, neither happy nor sad – all at the same time. You could have a jeep to drive up a dirt road or a car pulling you up a graveled driveway – either way, whether you arrive at your destination in a pumpkin or a carriage, always remember that Cinderella would have enjoyed the ball, either way!

So, what is there about a life that’s less shared that appeals to some and frightens the rest?  There is this need, an urgency to want something a bit more than just privacy. in the simple geographical sense… a sense of wanting to live exactly as you choose, your most authentic version. After all, without company, out go all the social graces and tip-toeing around gracious etiquette, something more of an obligation to people around, than you.  Who is then to say that lounging in your PJs all day is not something you do? Shuffling around in comfy loafers and shorts the epitome of a dressed-up day, holds a certain lazy appeal. That piece of heaven can offer you a liberating release from all self-imposed shackles of society, where you are no more obedient to any restraints but those imposed by you. With no dictates from time, days loom large and the world, a bit more at peace and lulled.

Not all who seek solitude are loners. Some are driven to the country to escape the chatter that fills their lives. There are those that seek the quiet, to touch the essential firmament of life. Not everyone wants to know the price of diesel or the top 5 stocks to purchase this week. Not all of us can keep up small talk. Not all are amazed at the new find around the corner which offers amazing discounts every week. Don’t mistake your everyday loner for someone who thinks deep thoughts. Not every person who seeks solitude gets in touch with their muses. Few get around to producing great works, even fewer get down to plumbing the depths of their souls or return claiming enlightenment.

People often assume loners are misanthropes, with less tolerance for what it takes to be with others, just sitting around thinking deep thoughts. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most move towards the quiet to drown out that white noise that fills more sociable heads than they can count. They seek a sort of solitude where they are more engaged with the world around them – the sky, the moon, the trees, and the earth. The kind that opens us up to the senses and the elements, unraveling all its wonders and peace.

It’s the falling in love with the silence that creates the shift. That silence, which could be calm or frightening, lonely or joyful. It slices through you and to you. It could be a religious silence, a self-reflecting silence or a romantic tryst. But immaterial of its kind, the poet Wordsworth did call it, ‘That Bliss of Silence’, and for good reason, I guess!

Leave a Reply