I am convinced that as a whole society we are losing something precious in our increasingly silence-avoiding culture and that somehow, whatever this silence might be, it needs holding, nourishing and unpacking.
~ from A Book of Silence, by Sara Maitland
Silence is a beautiful thing. Oddly enough, I don't consider that things like birdcalls, wind, falling rain, or even thunder detract from a quiet day. I can go for a walk in the woods and hear birds, the rustling of branches, breezes pushing fields, and still feel that there is a deep silence.
It is when I hear cars, airplanes, weedwackers, lawnmowers, chainsaws and the like, that a silent or quiet place loses its peace. So often it is out of my control ~ sometimes I did not realize I had silence until it was taken from me by a noisy leafblower or lawn mower. So many of the items we use to make our chores easier are louder than if we did them by hand. (But who wants to saw through a tree by hand?)
I do understand the pleasure and ease of these things ~ I use a food processor and a blender and a vacuum. During my days I often listen to books on cd, or put on a film at night, or listen to jazz at breakfast. I love traveling, therefore I fly and drive. I try to find a balance, and I do not ask for complete silence all the time. I don't think most of us try to be noisy, it's that generally, living has gotten louder ~ this seems a normal way of life. But I am concerned that many times, silence is not an available choice ~ and I wonder at the eventual effects of that.
I am looking forward to the day when I will live in a place with more natural silence. When the time is right, I see Tim and I in a house where we will open the back door and walk out into woods, and the majority of sounds we will hear outside will be natural, not manmade. I think there is real value in listening to natural silence, and cultivating it. I understand that everyone has their comfortable noise levels, and mine seems particularly sensitive. It's important to me to have peace and quiet.
...aaand, in preparation for fall coming and cozy quiet evenings, we are getting one of these (and I am so excited!) Curled up reading or sewing collages in front of crackling fires all winter ~ that's my kind of quiet. I can embrace crackle.