Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Sounds of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again*

When was the last time you experienced complete silence and total darkness? Last night the silence was so loud, it woke me from my sleep. A quick visit to the bathroom, and then I noticed, it was so dark! No glare from the clock beside the bed, no faint glow of streetlights peeking around the edges of the curtains. It was too dark. I made my way carefully down the hall, and that's when I discovered that it wasn't just too dark...it was too quiet. The power was out.

I found my cell phone and checked the time. 1:14 AM. I set the phone's alarm so that we wouldn't oversleep in case the electricity didn't come back on soon. Then I climbed back into bed. And listened. To nothing. The house was so still. No gentle whir of the ceiling fan above my head. No soft breeze on my face. No distant noises from the kitchen...refrigerator cycling on, ice machine filling. Just quiet. The absence of noise. I lay there, trying to fall asleep, and imagined this was what it was like 300 years ago. Before man invented all the modern conveniences that fill our lives with background noise. And then, far away, the urgent wailing of a siren, the howling of dogs as an ambulance passed, the mournful cry of a train whistle, the wind rustling through the trees, and the patter of raindrops sprinkling the window. All of these sounds are soothing to me. All of these sounds are usually all but drowned out by the normal hum and buzz of household racket. Even when I think it's quiet, it's not.

I enjoyed relaxing in the new silence and finally fell asleep. Only to be awakened once again at 3:30 when the power came on and Darling Daughter's television blared, scaring her awake with a yelp. And then the silence was different. The ice machine squealed, the air conditioner droned, and I was lulled back to sleep in the state of "normal" silence.

*Simon and Garfunkel

2 comments:

Alexia said...

Isn't it insane how much "noise" there really is in a house at night? The power going out always wakes me up at night too.

Alexia said...

Isn't it insane how much "noise" there really is in a house at night? The power going out always wakes me up at night too.