In our backyard stand two metal chairs….in the snow. For some reason they did not get put away for the season and just stayed out there like sturdy sentinels of the backyard fire-pit. (Yes there is a fire-pit buried under the snow.)
I took my backyard photos in the silence of a sunlit winter afternoon. After pondering a bit I decided that silence can be slightly deceptive. It looks so quiet and white back there in the wintertime. What you don’t see is the dormant grass under the snow just waiting for warmth and sunlight to melt the snow so it can spring up into a lush green carpet.
The flowers in the flower patch are waiting patiently for their time to break free of cold frozen soil and once again grow and bloom gloriously this coming summer. The evergreen trees stand quietly, preparing for families of robins, mornings doves and blue-jays that will nest in their branches.
What you don’t hear are the rustlings of the little creatures that burrow in tunnels beneath the snow. You also don’t hear the echos of the summers’ past. Those humid days where bees fly lazily past in search of the next brightly colored flower….the crackle of logs burning in the fire-pit with flames leaping into the sky.
You don’t smell the the smoke from that fire or taste the charred marshmallows toasted over it’s flickering flames. If you close your eyes, to the whiteness of the snow, you can almost conjure up visions of last summer and hear and see it all again.
I think it might be the same for so many things. What we perceive, when just looking at a person, is probably totally different from the reality of that person. We have no idea of the roads they have traveled, the places they have visited or the feelings locked away in the depths of their hearts and minds.
When faced with situations that seem beyond our control it is good to listen…. to be still and know…to listen to the silence and the song it is singing. Underneath the silence runs a melody that is filled with life and hope. It is giving a chance to breathe in and breathe out and know that life, like the dormant grass, is waiting to come back lush, green and vibrant.
For now….those two metal chairs sitting in the snow by a buried fire-pit are a reminder….silence may not be so silent after all if you just listen closely. Things are not always as they appear on the surface. There are so many layers that are not obvious at first glance and first listening.
If you want to truly know something….listen with more than your ears….look with more than your eyes. Listen and look with your heart and your memories to find the music that silence is singing.
I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
We need to pay heed to the many silences in our lives….
each silence has a character of its own.
“The Eloquence of Silence,” Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life, 1998