Silence can be awakening

Posted 7/15/21

I woke with a start. What had done it? I listened intently. There wasn't a sound, not even the early morning chatter of a mocking bird, no distant roar of flights preparing for departure. Just silence. Could silence have heightened all my senses? Can

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Silence can be awakening

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I woke with a start. What had done it? I listened intently. There wasn’t a sound, not even the early morning chatter of a mocking bird, no distant roar of flights preparing for departure. Just silence. Could silence have heightened all my senses? Can silence wake you up?

The red numerals on the bedside clock read 5:03. Diffused light filled the room. The window was opaque, beads of moisture clung to the screen. I could see the lawn heavy and wet and black water defining the shoreline. Beyond that, a curtain was pulled tightly. There was no movement, no wind, no waves. Not even the rising sun would penetrate the blanket.

I considered the options, turning on the TV and being instantly bombarded by traffic and weather reports and perhaps an update on the boat that collided with a whale, or was it the whale that hit the boat, or was it a whale at all? Or, I could retrieve the papers at the end of the drive that now are arriving by 5, make some coffee and catch up on news at my own pace.

I chose the third option – enjoy the silence and the separation.

It was half tide, meaning I would need to get offshore for water deep enough for my rowing scull. That would mean I would lose sight of land or that the shoreline would be no more than a smudge. I was ready for that – I would be going from silence to obscurity. What an escape.

The bay was remarkably clear for all the rain we’ve had. The bottom flecked with white shells offered a connection while the shore faded. As best I knew I had the bay to myself. No gulls, ducks, swans or cormorants crossed my wake. There was no hum of a tanker from the channel, no voices of fishermen in their kayaks.

I’ve rowed this way countless times. I looked over my shoulder to catch the dark form of a fishing boat moored off the Conimicut lookout. I pulled on the starboard oar to alter course. The boat faded into the white. I knew the mooring field off Cole Farm wasn’t all that far and when I spotted more dark forms, I circled for the row home.

Still the sheet hung thick, the silence unbroken except for oars skimming.

Indeed, silence can be an awakening.

The irony struck me, nothing like silence and fog to give you a clear head.

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