Slice of Life Story Challenge March 9 - Pondering The Shape of Silence

Some Thoughts On Silence.

I came home around 2.00 pm today after working with a team of teachers, collaborating on an action research project. They want to be seen as writers by their students. 

They aim to make their writing more visible and model aspects of their writing lives, their writing processes. We met for two hours to unpack their project, determine goals, identify possible assessment data and arrange some professional readings to deepen their subject knowledge. It was a most fruitful meeting. They have articulated a vision for where they want their teaching to go. They will be teaching with intention. I left smiling.

The house was empty when I arrived back home. The silence that greeted me, was welcomed.  Writers generally welcome silence at some point in their day. I am no exception. I had thoughts of composition in my head.

Being a beautiful autumn day, I assumed Vicki had retired to her water home- Fisherman’s Beach. Her motor scooter was missing, another clue.  A text message confirmed my prediction. 

I began to think about the silence of the house. Nothing stirred. Our house is by nature, quiet. It is set back from the street in a generally quiet part of town. 

Silence is often sought as a balm to the jangled noise of a discordant day. It can soothe and calm. This is the silence of renewal and regeneration. We often seek to wrap ourselves in such soothing silence- if only for a brief time. Modern living is so often bedeviled by unrelenting noise and babble. I always believed that during the time I lived in New York I was surrounded by a louder silence, if that makes sense. 

Sometimes our very homes conspire to disrupt the serenity. We live with a multitude of devices capable of delivering decibels disorder, either separately, or in unison.  It often proves difficult to find the silent moments we crave, or we need. This explains the exponential growth of health and day spas.

I am also aware that silence exists in another form. A silence that divides and isolates us, one from the other. This silence clamps down on communication, fracturing harmony. A void develops where words once existed. It is the kind of silence emerging out of a quarrel, a slight, a misunderstanding. This silence possesses an often destructive force. The perception of hurt feeds it. It spreads quickly pushing people apart until they become inhabitants of distant and isolated islands. Such silence spares no it visits upon - friends, family, ourselves. We all feel it at some point in time. We may have first experienced it in the playground when we were quite young.

We should never forget that when we speak up, or speak out, we instantly destroy the silence. Sometimes, we use silence to send powerful messages. We must know why we are seeking silence, for it is a gift to be used wisely.  

I shall finish here. I have pondered the notion of silence long enough. I can hear Vicki’s scooter approaching.


  1. I revel in my early morning silence. It grounds me and helps me start the day with a peaceful tone. This year, I have started sitting on the porch for a bit after work, weather permitting. Enjoying the sky and trees and passers-by in our suburban helps me decompress after a day in my joyfully noisy library.

  2. I used to savor silence, now I have to find constructive ways to fill so much more than I ever had before. That's what a widow has to take on... a tough challenge.

    1. As you say Bonnie, life has presented you with a challenge. I can appreciate how your perception of silence has been challenged too.

  3. So much to ponder on in your post. "Modern living is so often bedeviled by unrelenting noise and babble." Your word choice there makes me hear that loud and clear. So true.

    1. Pondering is good. Like how you heard my words about silence- loud and clear.

  4. There is that dilemma between filling the silence and letting it be, depending on need. Music can be part of filling it and happily, or conversation with a good friend, a loving family member. I liked thinking about your thinking, Alan.

    1. You have added to my thinking around silence, giving food for thought about ways we consciously fill the void sometimes. Thanks for your considered words Linda. Always welcome here.


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