Feeling the Silence

by Simon Goland, February 14, 2010

Today’s Reflection is about the pleasure and importance of a time-out.

The Olympics are here, in Vancouver. Media, people (a lot of them), road closures, protesters, security, and the focus of the world on Vancouver. A perfect time to leave the city and disappear somewhere quiet, away from all the noise and the predictions of how many gold medals Canada will take. Not that it is not important (for some or many), yet I find it is somewhat similar to predicting the weather forecast. Unpredictability rules.

By the way, I am not really against the Olympics; I am against it in Vancouver, yet have no problem with people making a lot of efforts, and paying a lot of money, to watch someone else accomplish something spectacular. Enjoy. Really.

“To live deeper, we have to go to the places that help us find a slower rhythm. But simply going to these places is not enough. We have to let these places touch us, change us, speak to us.” – anonymous

I am currently visiting friends on Whidbey Island. They purchased the land, built a house, and have been working the land since. It has been hard, because – as I found out yesterday – they are sitting literally on rocks, and the soil is horrible for growing or gardening pretty much anything. Yet, I keep being amazed at what they do grow, working the land, daily, painstakingly committed to growing more and more of their own food. Their gardens provide food for themselves, and they share it with neighbours and their children. They have a dog, two cats, and various other visitors, like rabbits, deer, and coyotes.

Sitting in their little guest house and watching the day start is a unique and precious experience. The silence is all around, pervasive, and tangible. I can hear the birds, the waterfall of their little pond outside the windows, and Tobi who is begging me to let him out to go visit the cats. I can hear my own thoughts. My heart beat. I can almost hear and feel the grass grow and the trees whisper to each other. This morning, silence penetrates everything – the air, the walls, my heart, and creates an inseparable fabric that connects everything and everyone. The heartbeat of the Universe does not exclude any being, if we but choose to tune into it.

“Eternity is not an endless amount of time but an experience outside of time, free from the stress of never being enough or having enough.” – anonymous

The rain starts, falling down in complete silence, blending with the Silence that is already here, joining in, adding another layer onto this visceral 3-D experience of this little corner of the world. The birds don’t care, and neither does Tobi, who is busy exploring the garden and all the new smells that must be present in this little corner of a quiet paradise. It feels as though I need to be out now as well.

“In the end we will only conserve what we love, we will only love what we know, and we will only know what we experience.” – Baba Dioum, Senegalese Poet and Conservationist

A sunny week to you all, inside and out.