It’s quiet here.
I feel my life transitioning into a stage of quiet. I am actually not one of those clerics always bemoaning the lack of silence and contemplation in society. I enjoy noisy, electric places. I spent a week in New York City this year and was thrilled every morning when my feet hit the pavement of the streets: traffic, crowds, theatres, restaurants, museums all swirling around me in a mad rush of sound and light. It’s wonderful and exhausting.
However, here in this small town I feel the seduction of quiet and peace. In my former parish I practically lived underneath Highway One. I never slept with windows open or enjoyed a sense of stillness. Here I keep the doors and windows wide so that the music of nature floods the rooms. I am interested in the different times of day supporting unique sounds from nature. Early mornings and twilights are my favorite moments. One evening the sky was turning this ripe plum color and a silver grey fog rolled over the mountains near the church and it was as if the entire neighborhood had been hushed. I am certain I heard the fog make a sound like the comforter on my bed when I pull it over freshly laundered sheets.
When I am in the church celebrating daily mass I never hear the sound of a car horn. On those mornings the church feels nestled in some alternative universe. Although the mass is full of words and movements, I need only sit still in my chair for the assembly to relax into a rich, luxurious silence. Quiet in church is like being wrapped in some fantastically expensive fabric that surrounds the individual in comfort and clarity. Words, music and speech are all necessary tools that bring a disparate group into public prayer but it is in quiet that I can finally stop fretting, planning, dictating and orchestrating. It is in the silence of this place I might be able to actually speak to God and perhaps more importantly to listen . . . to the tiny whispering sound.