Sound of silence

English: Boat entering Ventura Harbor in Ventu...

English: Boat entering Ventura Harbor in Ventura, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is silence a sound or the absence of sound? When a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, is there a sound or not? Philosophy, but let’s be practical.

In our modern society, we are constantly assailed by sounds. As I type this at my son’s home in Ventura with the sliding doors open, I can hear the six lanes of traffic including buses and trucks just beyond the concrete block wall that separates his backyard from a busy thoroughfare. He sleeps with earplugs so that he can sleep. In Utah, we live in a blessedly quiet neighborhood next to a vacant lot that children sometimes use for play and adults use as a base for climbing a nearby rock formation. We can sometimes hear shooting from a nearby shooting range when the wind is right (or wrong), and we can hear the distant roar of jets passing overhead and hum of traffic from Interstate 15 a mile away.

The most relaxing sound I know is the sound of ordinary surf, not the surf of a storm. Sitting near the shore and listening to the ebb and flow, I can feel the tension draining from my mind and body. As I sit there, I can imagine the surf pulling the tension from my body with every receding wave. There is no sound so relaxing.

2 thoughts on “Sound of silence

  1. When I’m up in the mountains here in Colorado, I’m always struck by the sublime nature of silence. I love being above the treeline when its snowing. Its so silent you can hear the snowflakes hitting the ground. It doesn’t get much better.

    • I grew up in Chicago and I miss the seasons, snow included. I remember some snowy nights walking by myself when the snow turned a row of leaf-bare elm trees into a black and white cathedral.

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