Saturday, February 10, 2007

Silence is Golden

I like the quiet. All day at work, I'm exposed to computers and fax machines and people talking. In the evenings, I'm dancing or watching TV or listening to music. Right now, I can hear my own very quiet computer and the sound of a cat scratching at the back door thirty feet (and two walls) away. I can hear the rain in the grass through a closed window. Clicky keys are the only thing that sound unnatural. The near-silence is wonderful.

My favorite time of day is that precious few moments when waking before everyone else in the house. No cars roaring down the road, no hair dryer or washing machine, no TV or telephone. The air is still, the sun coming up, and my toes sink into the carpet as I pad down the hall silently, still groggy, in search of my morning Eggos or first Diet Coke of the day.

When I was little, I'd get up early every weekend morning at that precious hour. I didn't usually watch cartoons or make breakfast. I didn't run into my parents' room to rouse them. I'd pull on some clothes and go out into the garage to work on stuff with Dad. Wood shops are often noisy, but on those mornings, he'd let me help him sand a piece of scrap wood or glue random bits of wood together. We didn't talk much. The silence was golden.

Sometimes I didn't wake up first. Once in a while, I'd slide out of bed and pop out into the kitchen to find Mom working on some pancakes or cinnamon rolls. Mom makes the best cinnamon rolls. Kitchens are pretty noisy places (I know: I worked in one for five years), but Mom can cook so quietly. Just ignore the sound of the metal spoon tinking on the bottom of a can of tomato sauce repeated as she attempts to remove every last bit from the can (that sound drives me crazy).

The best moment of silence happened when I was fifteen or sixteen. I was at the University of Oregon's Drum Major Leadership camp (it's like band camp, but without instruments). We were in Beall Hall, about 200 of us, basking in the cool air as we'd been out in the sun dehydrating for five days. The instructors brought us all up onto the stage and we found a place to sit. They started a song, the title or melody forgotten, and we were told to find the beat and "direct" the song. We closed our eyes and directed. The song went on for several minutes before fading out into nothingness. But no one moved. No words said, no coughing or twitching... just silence in the cool, dark auditorium. Probably one of the greatest moments in my life.

2 comments:

Mom of Three said...

One time, in band camp...

Jaggy said...

oh yeah? I own TWO flutes. So there. :P