Sounds of Silence

Posted July 18 2016

I just returned from a few days at a lake in central Washington. I was surrounded by the loudest bullfrogs you’ve ever heard and yes the occasional powering up of a nearby generator, but mostly, without cell phones or internet connections, there was silence. Delicious restorative silence.

I hadn’t realized how loud my life had become until I began the slow descent out of the woods, down the I-5 and back into Portland. Each step I got closer to my life-as-usual, a piece of that silence broke off. And I’m not talking about traffic noise or dog barking. I’m talking about to do lists and guilt and expectations and overdue library books. The list goes on and on. It’s made of big things and small things. I imagine you have your own list. Each of those things tugged at that quiet until there was nothing left but abrasive clattering.

It’s not that you can’t make art in noise. There’s lots of important things I can do in noise. I can sketch. I can play. I can doodle. And because there are so many things I can do in the noise, I forget why the silence is even necessary. Coming out of those woods reminded me of why silence is necessary. Silence is the homeland of breakthroughs. It’s where connections are born. It’s where we take our first steps toward profound work, whatever that may be.

I’m not quite sure how to find silence in my day-to-day living, but those woods helped me see that I need to at least try.

How do you find silence in your busy lives? Do you think you need it for your art?


Kelly Anne Powers thinks about all thing art over at her blog.