Monday, August 25, 2008

The Unsilence of Silence by Kat Magendie

I stop what I’m doing and listen. The cove at Killian’s Knob is exceptionally quiet this coming evening. And by “quiet” I do not mean a vacuum of silence; I am not sure that exists, except maybe in some far and away space. There is always sound, even in the silence. People will say how quiet it is here in the mountains, or in the country, but really, the quiet can be quite loud. A kind of “loud” I love, though; one without the sounds of the city that pierce the ear and the psyche.

Here on the mountain, the silence is punctuated by nature sounds. Birds, squirrels, the rushing creek, the sound of leaves waving in the wind (or in the winter, the limbs rub together and it sounds like a whale’s cry), crickets, cicadas, critters sneaking in the wooded areas, and in late summer, the deafening sound of tree frogs. Just now, there is a quick and intense buzz. I turn to the window and look. It is a hummingbird at the feeder. I am amazed at how loud its wings sound, how I can hear him hover out at the feeder on my porch from inside my little log house. He feeds, flies away, then returns and feeds again, his long beak sipping at the sweet red nectar we provide.

Then, a piercing cry punctuates, another answers. A hawk! Two! They’ve been calling out and answering each other for days now, right here in our cove. I think they must be nesting near us this year. I feel honored, filled with a gratitude I will not express because to express it will be to cheapen it. Sometimes I have no words; it is only This Right Now.

A red squirrel is staring at me, has been watching me as I type, and then as I stop and stare. She chews her sunflower seeds, unmindful of the hawk, unmindful of the hummingbird buzzing back and forth, unmindful of my interest. We are all making our silent mountain noise. My dog breathes. I click click on the laptop. The buzzing. The shrieking calls. The chewing of seed. The cricket fiddling. The water rushing. The wind rustling blown leaves.

I am grateful for this “silent” cove. That perfect stillness that isn’t still at all. This, that just Is.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Enjoying your mountain's quiet sounds with a cup of coffee.

Barbara Quinn said...

Your "sounds of silence" (good song) reminds me of that Woody Allen movie where he has to go back to the city because it's too noisy in the "quiet" country!

Thanks for the lovely morning trip into your cove.

Joanne said...

Thanks for bringing a little bit of your cove to the suburbs here. Reading this is like a form of meditation.

Ami said...

You've reminded me to appreciate that un-silent silence. Here in the city, I catch a glimpse of it in the early morning, when the noise of traffic and people can't drown out the sound of a rushing creek running through the nearby park or the birds singing their morning song.

Anonymous said...

The sounds of a waking or fading to sleep nature is one of the big reasons I hunt and fish. Mother Nature is a great teacher.
Oren (FOA)

Patresa Hartman said...

nice. i suppose there's good reason so many people buy nature sounds recorded to CDs. but you get the real thing. :)

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