“Find the Language”
Linking up with Amanda at Habit of Being – November prompt-a-day
There are different kinds of silence. As a Yoga teacher I know this. The hush of a room full of students moving in unison with their breath, the no-sound after a sustained chant, the concentrated stillness of the mind when during meditation thoughts grudgingly, fleetingly stop. Yes, there is a time for words, thoughts, language… and there is a time for silence.
Words: the relentless daily onslaught of sound. From the youngest’s still-dark morning, “I want mokie” to his last half-willing, half-reluctant “no, I don’t waaaant to go to bed,” my day is embroidered with those words. The children talk, oh do they talk. Three high-pitched voices giggling, arguing, scheming, reading, singing. And my own voice. An American baseline underpinning those Welsh melodies. I talk all day, talking with my children, talking at them at times, mentoring them as they learn, helping them to heal their squabbles, shepherding them over the rolling hills of family life.
There are times when I crave silence. I am like the Soundkeeper in The Phantom Tollbooth:
“Isn’t that lovely?” she sighed. “It’s my favourite programme– fifteen minutes of silence– and after that there’s a half-hour of quiet and then an interlude of lull.
Silence, quiet, lull: I want to savour it all. Some days I feel I have used up all of my allotted words for the day by 3 o’clock. Instead, I want to feel my feet pounding the pavement on a long country run. I want to enjoy the inflation and settling of my lungs during meditation. I want to stir a bowlful of brownie batter with zero commentary, zero eggshells in the mix, zero little hands smearing it down their tummies.
It is not escape that I long for, but quiet camaraderie; I want them to know the nourishing value of quiet too. How wonderful it would be for all our hearts to soar with the exhilaration of silent presence in this moment. It’s there momentarily as we walk through the woods, or in the breath I take before I begin to read them a story, or when we have taken a first bite of a long-awaited meal. I recall the heartbeat’s moment of silence after each of them were born—that moment before breath animated their lungs in a healthy, lusty bawl. That moment when I saw them and knew them before they’d even inhaled with their own little lungs the air that I breathe now. A silence like no other. A moment permanently seared into my memory in high definition.
Most days I feel as though we tumble out of our front door like clowns from a VW. My youngest children especially have little need for silence: they fill the day with the sounds of their chatter and laughter and aren’t even quiet when they have mouths filled with food. We are a noisy, brassy family that laughs and leaps, argues and makes up. On the one hand I pity our neighbours; on the other I love our family just the way it is.
Silence. Maybe it’s an adult thing. As the eldest gets older I see her need for quiet growing. One day we will all find the language of silence. But for now, it’s words, words and more words. Somebody pass the earmuffs.
©Lisa Hassan Scott 2013.
Many thanks to Amanda for providing short daily prompts for writing and sharing them on Twitter with #writealm and on her WriteAlm Facebook page.