As I sit listening to only the whir of the Bahamas fan and no other sound, I realize that I spend many hours in silence. At one time, my windows were so weak and ill fitting that I could hear the outdoor sounds of cars on the street, talking next door, birds calling and even garage doors opening and shutting. I didn’t notice those things at the time; they were part of the neighborhood, the ambiance of the street.
Today, I realize they are gone. Oh, cars still pass by, neighbors talk, birds call and garage doors open and shut; I just don’t hear them. My house was fitted with snug hurricane windows and doors that are multi-paned so a missile with 170 mph winds will not penetrate. At the same time, neither does sound.
Thank goodness the thunder and lightning is loud enough to shock me into awareness, but I have to move the curtain to one side to see the torrents of rain; as they make no more sound than the air conditioning. I watch the lightning dance across the back yard after it’s announced by the thunder so loud the house shakes. When it ends and the sun returns with its arching rainbow, the silence returns.
I realize even more poignantly that the true missing sound is inside. No children run through, warned to wipe their feet and wash their hands. No spouse calls from the garage. No friends stop by unannounced and stick their heads in the door to see if we can drive their children to baseball practice. No tussling sounds come from the bedrooms as boys fight and wrestle until some adult needs to step in to save the furniture. No arguments fill the house with anger and no laughter fills it with joy.
I’ve spent many years of my life in near solitude, filling the hours with reading and writing. I lived alone for six months aboard a sailing yacht, Lady Ace. It was wondrous solitude. What it did not have however, was silence, silence so deafening that all I hear is that fan whirring as the silence grows louder and louder.
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