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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Genuine Silence

It took a long time this year for spring to arrive in northern New England. But, finally, it is here. The leaves are mostly out, the forsythia is in bloom, and a few hummingbirds have zipped by me while out in the garden.

When spring arrives, we head north to our cabin in the woods. Our cabin is near the end of a six-mile long dirt road, so we have to be absolutely certain that the mud has dried up before we start the trip. We’ve gotten stuck in the mud before, about half-way in, and had to walk the rest of way to get an ATV to go back to pull out the truck. You only do that once and the lesson is learned—wait until the end of mud season.

This year, we had no such trouble. We arrived at our cabin on May 23 for a long weekend. The weather was gorgeous and the pesky black flies, generally out thick on Memorial Day weekend, were still nowhere to be found.

So, on the morning of May 24, I stepped out the front door of our cabin to walk down to see the lake and I was immediately reminded of one of the most wonderful things about the woods up north. Silence.

C. B. Cote, Silence.

No traffic. No machinery. No voices. Nothing.

Silence—genuine silence—is hard to find. It’s not easy to get away from the sounds of society. But when you find it, it’s like experiencing cool water on a blistering hot day. Silence is refreshing, soothing, joyful. It feels unbelievably wonderful as it washes over you. Like water, silence flows over your body, following every curve and seeping into every pore. It surrounds you like a soft blanket.

Contrary to what we might be led to believe, silence is not nothing. Silence is not a lack of something . . . a lack of sound. Silence is something all to itself. Genuine silence can be felt. It is thick and full and rich. It is fresh and pure. Silence is life-giving.


“In some places, silence can be an emptiness that is paradoxically, full. You do not occupy this silence; it occupies you.”
Mark C. Taylor, Recovering Place


Christine Cote
Shanti Arts

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