Day 8: The Sound of Silence

Isn’t it interesting how blessings sort of sneak up on you?

For instance. You’ve heard me go on about the emptiness I felt when I took my daughter away for her freshman year at college. (Thank you, dear friend, for indulging me that onandonandon-ness. It has been healing.) So here I am now, a few weeks in, and new to my life is the great joy I find in (1) visiting her, and (2) pouring unfettered energy into college football.

And still, that’s not the reason I started this post. (You thought I was going to tie Clemson’s back-to-back wins over national champ Auburn and #10 Florida State to my 30 Days of Grace, weren’t you? Tempting …but. No.) I’m leading to this point:

Traveling to Clemson has provided a wonderful opportunity to share game-day travel with another mother-of-a-freshman, Julie. This week we talked about the changes in our lives, and I heard myself telling her how quickly I have learned to love the silence of my empty house, and how surprised I am to find that this new quiet is comforting, rather than disconcerting.

Saturday night I came home from the screaming insanity that was the Clemson/Florida State football game to find this poem in my inbox:

Extinction of Silence

That it was shy when alive goes without saying.
We know it vanished at the sound of voices

Or footsteps. It took wing at the slightest noises,
Though it could be approached by someone praying.

We have no recordings of it, though of course
In the basement of the Museum, we have some stuffed

Moth-eaten specimens—the Lesser Ruffed
And Yellow Spotted—filed in narrow drawers.

But its song is lost. If it was related to
A species of Quiet, or of another feather,

No researcher can know. Not even whether
A breeding pair still nests deep in the bayou,

Where legend has it some once common bird
Decades ago was first not seen, not heard.

Source: Poetry (February 2006).


I am thankful for this new quiet in my life, and I am grateful when it slowly descends at the end of the day—sweetly, deliberately, like a snowfall you didn’t quite expect but welcome nonetheless.

30 Days of Grace

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