May 17, 2015

Accept What Comes from Silence



Today I had two cups of awesome coffee out on the steps by the water and I listened intently to water rushing, crashing, spilling, splashing, it was delightful. The silence allowed me to hear the waves, it was wonderful. Riley hardly ever barks, today she responded a few times when water splashed up to the top steps where we were sitting. I assured her she would be OK. 

Silence when it's present for an extended period of time gets louder and thicker. Certainly I become more aware of space, of how fast I am moving or not. And the thoughts, ideas and questions in my head seem to take on a larger, louder presence.  All in a good way. 

One of the reasons I love to swim, with my head underwater the silence is manufactured, the sounds are unique to the environment and vary deepening on what stroke I am swimming. 

Scuba diving creates an even greater experience, like being in a stadium, imagine that amount of space and the only thing you can hear is your breathing.  It's a reminder of being alive in a very LOUD way, hearing the inhale and exhale of your life, your existence, it's powerful.  I wish everyone could have the experience of one beautiful and safe and fearless dive. 

I have what I've always called "astronaut hearing" - I have the ability to be in a  conversation with 2 or 3 people and at the same time be able to listen to a conversation 10 or 15 feet away and not miss a word. 

I've always been sensitive to sound, especially repetitive sounds like windshield wipers on high speed, or the water slowly dripping in rain gutters after the rain has stopped. Loud commercials YIKES ! I know I could be easily tortured with music, the wrong song, at high volume in a small enclosed room, I would be in trouble.  

And then the unexpected visit of the wonderful poem below. It was iwas part of the weekly Brain Pickings newsletter. 




Accept what comes from silence, ah…….. what a treat it was to read this poem a few times, in my head and then out loud and then to listen to the poet read his own work. There was a link to the recording included in the newsletter. If you don't know Brain Pickings, allow yourself a treat and check it out and subscribe. 





How To Be a Poet

BY WENDELL BERRY
(to remind myself)



Make a place to sit down.   
Sit down. Be quiet.   
You must depend upon   
affection, reading, knowledge,   
skill—more of each   
than you have—inspiration,   
work, growing older, patience,   
for patience joins time   
to eternity. Any readers   
who like your poems,   
doubt their judgment.   

ii   

Breathe with unconditional breath   
the unconditioned air.   
Shun electric wire.   
Communicate slowly. Live   
a three-dimensioned life;   
stay away from screens.   
Stay away from anything   
that obscures the place it is in.   
There are no unsacred places;   
there are only sacred places   
and desecrated places.   

iii   

Accept what comes from silence.   
Make the best you can of it.   
Of the little words that come   
out of the silence, like prayers   
prayed back to the one who prays,   
make a poem that does not disturb   
the silence from which it came.


And before I read this poem today, I did accept what came from silence, a surprise. 



In my 30 or 40 minutes of sitting on the steps and enjoying the sights and sounds of the water, my eyes were wandering, exploring and to my right, I spotted a pine cone. If you look closely you can see it in the photograph above. I thought how odd, how did this pine cone end up here on the bank of the property, by the water and not a pine tree in sight on Ana and Parker's street.  

Certainly there are pine trees in Shalimar, but not anywhere close by. So I imagined all the ways it could have made it to that particular spot.  Then I had to place it on the rusted iron that was nearby so I could take a photograph and share with JoAnn. We texted back and forth and decided it was a pine cone on an adventure. She was at La Guardia on her way to Panama. I also sent the photo to Ana and Parker via email all the way to Croatia and they assured me that across the way on the other side of Eglin Parkway there is a street full of pine cones. I will drive by there tomorrow.  

Did the pine cone fall in the water on the other side of the bay and float via the water way and make its way to Ana and Parker's backyard. The wind was blowing very strong yesterday, so who knows. 

Maybe a bird dropped it ? 

Or maybe one of the boys across the street, Chandler and/or Bradley brought it over during one of their play outings in the afternoon ?  

I am accepting the pine cone as a gift from my wonderful visit with the silence of this morning. And I am making the best I can of it, as suggested by Berry's poem.