I hope all of you are safe and warm. I sit at home today writing this blog in comfort. I hope all of you are equally provided for. This week has brought 2 winter storms through my area. When the snow falls there is little anyone else around here talks about.
Wednesday morning I knew the snow had come in the night because of the silence. The snow brings the quiet. Like a blanket it covers the world stilling the frenetic pace most of us keep. It brings us into ourselves more deeply as we burrow for warmth and safety. We look at core matters. Can we get home? Do we have food and water? Do we have wood for the fireplace if the power goes out? Are our loved ones safe? While panic may reign on the local stations calling for Snowmageddon, nature quietly blankets the land in a white crystalline dream.
I remember the first time I saw snow. I must have been 3 or 4 years old. I was on a plane somewhere out west on the way to Seattle. On the tarmac I got very excited as large flakes began falling from the sky. I had heard of snow, but living in Florida I had never seen it in person. One of the flight attendants took a cup and went out of the plane and brought me some of the snow to taste. This was of course at a time when people could get on and off the plane. Later that week I had a car picnic in the snow. My mother and father placed a bottle of wine in the cold white bank. The snow was nearly as deep as I was tall. It looked so soft and we had the whole park to ourselves.
There is something about snow that seems to dampen noise. It may be a structural thing, but it seems to create an aura of suppressed sound. There is a hush as if nature is saying, "Shhhhh listen." In the silent space it creates between us and the modern world we get a chance to feel the magic that is present in the seasons and the forces of weather. If we silence ourselves and pay heed, we can almost hear the dreaming thoughts of the trees as they sleep the cold away, napping deep in their roots.
Silence is golden we are told. It is also very difficult to achieve. I catch myself in conversations listening for where my bit comes in. I have lost a lot of the power of silence. In silence we listen more deeply. We notice what has been hidden from us. We see what has been with us all our life, hiding just in the corner of our eye. As the horizon of the external world closes in, it miraculously opens up at the same time. We stretch our senses outward further than when all is clear.
So you may ask why I am going on about the silence of snow? There is a lot of power in silence. There is power in listening without speaking. There is honor in holding our tongues when they would lash out carelessly or with malice. We often speak without thinking of the consequences of our words, or we speak to sound clever or witty. What we don't say can say more about who we are than what we do say. Silence is just as important as our words, more important because without it there would be no words. Between each word is a space. Without pauses we cannot reflect on where we've been and where we're going. Terry Pratchett put it best in one of his Tiffany Aching novels, "If you don't know where you've been, you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are you don't where you are going, and if you don't know where you are going, you're probably going wrong."
So how about you? Do you honor the silence, or do you seek to fill it? Do you dread the quiet, or does your heart rejoice in that moment between? Are you as careful about what you don't say as what you do? Try speaking less this week and listening more. Try not speaking for anyone but yourself. Try keeping your opinions and beliefs to yourself unless you are directly asked for them. Notice what may enter into that sacred silence if you make space for it.
Peace and Blessings,