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What does Silence look like?

Butterfly Wings's picture

Silence is interesting in that you have to know what Loud means to understand it. Silence is powerful only in its contrast to your daily realities. My home this summer was restless; something about the taste of independence I get at college does not translate well to returning to the rules of home life with parents, so the first month or so was difficult. I spent a lot of time feeling overwhelmed by their expectations, and realized what I really needed was some space and time with my thoughts. If the family car wasn’t being used, I would take it and drive around my town to explore the nooks and crannies I had never had reason to look into. Part of my explorations led me back to this playground, right after a rainstorm. 

Playgrounds have always been a source of noise in my life; my memories are of them buzzing with screaming kids and full of dramatic stories about castles and pirate ships and circuses. This playground in particular was where I used to attend summer camp with my best friend, a decade ago. I had never before seen it so deserted. It was eerie and odd; I almost felt like an intruder there, a technical adult on kids’ turf, though no eight year olds burst out of the trees blowing war horns. It was a different kind of silence than what I seek out when I feel over-peopled or stressed out or just need some alone time. 

It was a lacking silence. By lacking, I do not mean that the sound of rain intruded on the silence. I more mean that the space lacked what normally characterized it- noise. It was all the quieter for my knowing that it should not have been quiet on a Saturday afternoon in June. It was peaceful and oddly old and oddly small. A silence of memory, maybe.