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Silence - It's Not Always Golden

By Ashleylister @ashleylister

Like most people I guess I’m a bit of a mixture when it comes to silence. Some might say I have no idea what the word means. I’m rarely quiet for very long when in company. I’ve seen my companions’ eyes glaze over as I enter the tenth minute of a story that should have been completed in seconds. In fact, even my daughter, who I thought relished my tales, admitted recently that she can’t listen to anybody for more than a couple of minutes: she becomes irritated and restless. That got me told, and also explained a lot about her school reports. But I digress. I love to chat, I also love to hear other people’s tales. I’m curious - sit me down, give me a brew and then tell me everything about yourself.Don’t pause though, or I’ll fill that void. Silences in conversation make me anxious, and I just can’t let that happen. Feel free to interrupt and continue. Hesitate and the floor’s all mine.

I was thinking about this chatting lark. I know exactly where it came from: my grandma, who could talk for England. Her favorite subject was, ‘The Aunts at Yarmouth,’ who were her sisters. Two nasty, selfish, mean old spinsters, according to grandma. She could reel off a long list of ways in which she had been slighted by them over the years. My uncle once got her onto the subject and recorded the diatribe, whist my granddad tried desperately to steer the conversation away from the aunts. I still have the recording and it continues to make me laugh. As she got older and her hearing and health began to deteriorate, she became much quieter, just sitting on the sofa and looking rather puzzled as conversations swirled around her. 

I said I’m a bit of a mixture where silence is concerned. There are specific situations where I relish the silence and others where I can’t bear it, not just within conversations, but also inside the home. I’ve suffered with depression for many years and when it was at its worst I couldn’t bear a silent house. Maybe it was the fact that I had three young children and constant noise was the result, but if I was ever in alone at home the first thing I did was switch on the radio. I still do it now. I also realised, quite recently, that I hum and whistle constantly, my mom and dad did the same.  I think it’s just another way of filling that void and blocking out the silence.

However, when my children were babies I craved peace from their crying, shouting, screaming and whiny demands. With my first born I was obsessed with silence when he went to bed.  Woe betide anybody knocking at the door or phoning on the big loud landline.  By the time it got to baby number three I was much more relaxed.  They'd have to sleep through dinner parties (which were all the rage in the 80s), loud music, frantic hoovering, and food mixers going full blast. They either slept through or I didn't hear them due to the above.  Either way, we all survived.

Alone in nature, silence is my preference.  No music, no audiobooks, no distractions, just tiny natural noises in the background; birds, trees, gentle seas, a light breeze. Just perfect.  Everything slows down, my heart beat, my breathing, my thoughts.  It's just one way to recharge the batteries - a cliche, but true.

Silence - It's Not Always Golden
Silence - It's Not Always Golden
Silence - It's Not Always Golden

Silence - In Its Place  by Jill Reidy

Silence is golden 

So they say

But when you have a head 

Full of buzzing

Of thoughts that swirl and repeat 

And do it all again  

Bore into your brain

To tell you things to you didn’t want to hear

Then chase them out

With mindless music

Numbing News 

And puerile comments 

From presenters who know 

Nothing of your pain 

But will fill your head with noise 

And Solve the problem for a while.

Emerge from that, and venture out

Where you have to strain your ears 

To hear the slightest sound

Nature, pure and simple

Gentle cooing of a pair of birds

Leaves like butterflies in a lazy breeze

Slow the heart and soothe the soul

And sometimes, not often

Total Silence

Bliss

Thanks for reading.....Jill 

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