There are people to whom silence is odious. The radio and/or TV must be on or they become uncomfortable. The art of conversation is not lost on them; for to them silence is not golden. If TV should fail them, they talk.
A man friend of ours is devoted to classic jazz, which he cranks up to the decibal of a B-17 bomber. He is also an antique clock collector, and each of his many beautiful clocks chimes the hour, the half-hour, and some even announce the quarter hour.
But we are so overburdened with data, rhetoric and spin that it is difficult to absorb, much less try to make sense of. We are entertaining ourselves to death.
A friend living alone and with a slight hearing loss, was fitted for a hearing aid, thinking it would give her twenty-five year old hearing once more. Not so. She thought it would be a little “pre-old-age” touch to prepare for for the inevitable. Now she is aware of the slightest creaking of her house in the dark of midnight, the rhythmic pulse of the refrigerator, with it’s periodic glassy crash of the ice-maker disturbs her sleep. The rustle of the leaves in her garden sound like a freight train rumbling through the yard. You begin to hear sounds you heard before but weren’t aware you were hearing, and they aren’t always pleasant.
We are failing in our efforts to pin down this increasingly incomprehensible reality. The ubiquitous cell phone ring tones, the lyrics to contemporary pop music, the sounds of today’s everyday life of course skipped our ancestors, and have left us envious of the “quiet life” people speak of.
We can recapture that delicious “aloneness” when hiking in the wilderness, running a well-known trail, or fishing a solitary stream, or walking beside a quiet sea at sunset. During the War, to get a little peace and get away from the pounding of the engines, my husband used to sit at the fantail of his ship and listen to the sound of the screw while watching the phosphorescent wake pealing out behind.
Peace and tranquility are what we sometimes need for our own well-being.