A Call For Retreat

Not A Good Silence (Written September 7, 2018)

Silence is something I’ve treasured all my life-
Its peace and calmness my ally and friend.
But now, I find, that silence has died,
That the music it brought has come to an end.

It used to be that the silence sang,
Spoke in whispers and beautiful sound.
In it I heard a million voices
And in that noise were the words I have found.

But now the silence is terribly dead,
Too quiet, too empty and cold.
Where did all that singing go?
When did the emptiness take it’s hold?

This is not the silence I love! How could it be?
Not the peace of a garden, or the peace of the grave,
But of nothingness, no life or death or anything at all.
This is not the silence I crave.


I love silence. The silence of a tranquil lake, of the top of a 14er, of an old cemetery. The silence in the library, in a house where everyone else is asleep, of a precious place when you are the last one to leave it for the final time. I love silence. Silence is loaded with millions of thoughts and words and songs and colors. Silence is alive. But it is peaceful. It is all those loud things gone appreciated and unspoken. It is such appreciation that speaking it would lessen it, any attempt to convey the sentiment only possibly capable of producing a shadow so faint it is almost unrecognizable. In the face of the greatest and most incredible things in the world, silence is the best answer. And, out of that silence, eventually, after much reflection and appreciation of the beauty you have beheld, comes art and wisdom and love and all the good and worthwhile things life has to offer.

(I think Wordsworth said something like this too? I remember talking about it in college, but can’t seem to find it now. If you happen to know the quote I’m thinking of then please let me know!)

But the silence now? It is awful. It is the silence of a mind that is so overwhelmed with empty noise that it cannot produce any thought of its own. I’m beginning to really, properly, appreciate exactly what my teachers tried to convince us of when I was a kid. Modern media is too much. If this silence is what everyone else experiences in the face of all this noise then we really do all need to turn on the heel and run away. Retreat! Regroup and discover the enemy for what it is before we have groomed it into a beast we can no longer overcome.


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