The Hush

April 27th, 2010

This morning I was rushing around the house because I was late as usual, trying to make a sandwich, take my blood pressure for a chart I’m keeping for my doctor and apply self-tanner, all more or less simultaneously. Then I exploded from the house like someone shot from a cannon. Later, I came across old photos from Italy and found this one of the cat that belonged to the villa where I stayed. So peaceful that just looking at it made me exhale all the worry and tension that keeps my shoulders standing at attention in anticipation of the next brouhaha. I remembered watching how slowly the night came down and how it smelled and the long vistas across the hills at blue dusk. The silence was bone-deep — no TV, radio, music. How many times does that actually happen in our daily lives?  We’ve managed to distract the whole planet with our Stuff. At night, our stars are put in the shade by the ambient glow of electric lights, and even if  the TV is off, chances are the dishwasher is running or the dryer is whirring or cars are passing the house. And, of course, the usual chorus of sirens, garbage trucks, leaf blowers and chain saws. I’m so unused to silence that I don’t even miss it until I’m reminded of how it didn’t sound.

5 Responses to “The Hush”

  1. Jen R. says:

    I honestly don’t know how to make noise stop. Sometimes, I almost get there if I’m cuddling my kids to sleep or bike riding somewhere off the beaten path. It’s short-lived, at best.

    I myself often finding myself striving for a time in Italy. Do we REALLY need Italy to slow things down?

  2. Jacquie says:

    When visiting my daughter in Europe,the first week or so I find I can not sleep due to the “bone deep” quiet of night.

    Yet its the first thing I miss sorely when I return home..

  3. The silence in many European countries isn’t accidental. When I lived in Belgium, it was against the law to operate a lawnmower, trimmer, or piece of outdoor equipment on Sundays. There was also a daily “quiet time” between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. where it was understood (if not legislated), that people refrain from loud outdoor work (might disturb napping babies–or adults). My observation was that dogs were not left out at night, and that people were more quiet in general in all settings. I particularly enjoyed the fact you could go to a restaurant there and not be assaulted with noise.

    When I lived in an apartment in Brussels, the rental agreement included a noise clause that didn’t allow people to take showers, run dishwashers, or do laundry late at night or very early in the morning. I couldn’t imagine Americans agreeing to these things.

  4. nikki says:

    I can’t imagine it either…I guess some people think it’s in the constitution to be allowed to use a leafblower on Saturday at 7am.

  5. Your photo helps me take a deep breath, so thank you. I don’t think I’d savor the peaceful moments without the crazy ones, BUT I’d like a few more quiet ones sprinkled throughout the day. There’s balance somewhere and I think if we’re always striving for it, we’re on the right track.

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