By Dana Gornall
“It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.” ~ K.T. Jong
A message flashes on my phone: You okay?
I see it—read it—and my brain registers the message in a thousand different pieces. Well, maybe it is not quite a thousand, but I feel torn how to respond. Yes, I am okay. I am not even really sad (I don’t think).
I am simply feeling quiet.
There are times (like now) when so much is happening. My house looks like it has been hit by a Christmas tornado, what with bits of wrapping paper and pine needles to be found in dusty corners of the room. There are a couple of boxes from gifts unwrapped just days ago—cardboard shapes that nestled things in just the right way.
There are candy cane wrappers—a tiny bit sticky, and some with half-eaten parts. There are Christmas bulbs that have tumbled their way to the floor and have now found new homes on a shelf as they wait to be wrapped in paper and put away for another turn of the wheel.
The aftermath of the chaos—the ups and downs, the darker nights and shorter days, the rumblings of change not far ahead, all leave me wanting to pull a blanket up over my head and withdraw from the world.
I want to be quiet.
It isn’t that I don’t want to talk to you or that I’m upset. It isn’t that I am angry or depressed or feeling sad. It isn’t any of those things or maybe it is a little bit of all of them (I’m not sure). It isn’t a secret I am keeping (or maybe sometimes it is many secrets).
When I want to be quiet I have this pull to find an untouched space in my house. A place that hasn’t been hit with chaos of shorter days and darker nights. A place that I can sink into a book or a movie or even my thoughts.
When I am quiet I don’t want to play a game with you. I don’t want to chat about snow or the rain or the unseasonably warm weather. I want to slink away without ceremony or show and close the door behind me, muffling the sounds of all that is going on out there. When I am quiet I sometimes want to put earbuds in my ears and play loud music that is hard and fast or slow and soft.
Sometimes I want a silence so loud that my ears hum and burn with the weight of it.
I can’t explain it all fully, really. Those things circulating in the air—those things we share with only our closest friends, things we tell the people we see only on occasion, and the things that are lingering in the deepest spaces of our minds. The thinking that spins round so loudly that it mutes out even the most silent of moments or the voices that fade into the background of everyday noise.
Those pictures that flash through our dreams sometime around three or four in the morning and the thoughts that slide into our waking minds when we have just unwound ourselves from a dream. The words that stir, the memories that haunt, the wants that poke and nudge you into an unspoken pause.
When I am quiet understand that there will be a time for me to be loud once again, or funny or cheerful. I will want to play games and talk about the snow or the rain or the unseasonably warm weather. I will take out my earbuds and dance with you in the kitchen and cook meals with my iPhone playing music. I will ask you how your day was and tell you about mine.
But for now—for just today—I am feeling quiet.
Editor: Ty H Phillips