There was one quiet place, growing up. Actually two, but one was the bathroom, and I don’t think that should count.
If you walked down the muddied path, around the great oak and through the sea of farm equipment, you would find the great green pine that stood guarding our property.
It commanded its space like a sentinel, wind whistling through its branches, talking to me when I would have time enough to sit and listen to its questions:
“Why do helium balloons rise and float effortlessly” it would ask.
“Have you ever heard the whales cry their cavernous songs”?
“Do you ever stand out in the reservoir of black midnight and wonder what music the stars sing”?
“Why does the earth mourn when the sky lives on happily”?
A spring toad sat next to my toe, his fat face looking for food. Lunch, he croaked. Lunch and more lunch. He spoke with a lisp of onomatopoeia. I didn’t have any lunch for him, but I placed my face next to his and told him the mysteries of the spring air and asked him why such a young toad would have such an old face and a tired soul.
He spoke in the same way my grandma did, her soft brown face stretched with time as she cried, “Ay ya ya”! Those were days when sounds meant words and words rose and fell in my head like the bubbles mama makes in the sink while washing dishes.
I went back to that place last spring. My hair is no longer as long as my shoulder bone, as it was back then. My feet are a little less calloused as I rarely run barefoot down stubbled paths anymore. I can’t seem to hear the words of my quiet place as well as I used to. I wonder if this is all worth it, you know?
I felt betrayed, like the noise of my life tricked me into forgetting the grace that silence is.
Is it worth it if you can no longer hear the words that silence has to offer you?