Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Silence

I was torn today on the topic of my post, and then “Silence is golden” rushed into my mind this morning, a topic pertinent to my life for many years because I’ve lost the ability to experience complete silence. Tinnitus, perhaps the topic for Monday’s blog post, invades and disturbs 24/7.

Beyond personal disturbances, there is the fact that, like the invasion of man-made light upon the sky, human contrived noise has almost silenced silence. Where does one go to find the quiet of silence, a place where the loudest noise is one’s thoughts?

With the increase in communication devices – think ipod, ipad, iphone, inoise – humans seem hooked to noise all day long, every day of the year. When not wired to some music or phone device, we’re bombarded by the sounds of motor vehicles, planes, dogs, people talking as if to themselves (thanks to Bluetooth), office chatter and televisions, that seem to be on constantly as background in some homes.

I suspect we’ve grown so comfortable with noise that silence sounds deafening. And, again I ask, where does one go to find the quiet of silence? The answer: Orfield Laboratory’s anechoic chamber in Minneapolis, Minnesota is considered the quietest place on Earth. It is so soundproof, that no human has been able to withstand the absolute silence, when the room is darkened, for more than forty-five minutes.

Scientists say this reflects that we are sensory-dependent beings. Apparently, after a few minutes in the chamber, the sounds grow personal – heartbeat, breathing, perhaps your skin twitching?  People have actually started hallucinating in the deprivation of sound environment.

Another place for silence is located in the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. It’s called “One Square Inch of Silence” a place designed on Earth Day 2005 to protect the natural soundscape of the park’s backcountry wilderness. You can learn more at

Silence - a beautiful sound. Silence makes music more vibrant and alive. Silence allows the mind a respite from conscious activity, wakens deeper layers of self where true peace and clarity reside.

*** ***


begins where noise
ends, a wisp of sweet air
strikes between echoes, the absence


  1. Lovely post! I was enjoying my quiet day with the house to myself only to now notice the neighbor sounds, the tv in the other room, and an ad playing on my computer. It seems crazy that we have actually lost the ability to embrace silence.

    xoxo Lloralye @ Adorning Schemes A to Z

    1. Maybe not "lost" so much as withdrawn and buried that ability beneath the intensity of our active lives.

      Aside from the tinnitus crackling constantly within, I can actually create a close to silent space by removing my hearing aids (or just turning them off), one of the "silver linings" I've chosen to find among the discomforts and losses related to severely weakened hearing.

      Thanks for commenting