Silence was on my mind, so I took my morning coffee outside on the porch. I was contemplating Holy Week and how I was going to manage the need to disconnect and prepare, with a pressing need to connect across international lines and prepare for a trip that is both complex and exciting.
I’m trying to embrace the silence recommended by Pope Francis, especially since I feel a bit scattered and restless. The man-made noises inside the house, typically a sign of security, now affect me negatively. Sitting outside in the sunshine exposes me to a different noise; it’s natural and has a rhythm that is soothing instead of annoying. I can hear the difference between the waves that crash against the rocks and the waves that softly land on shore.
The wind, too, rustles differently in the trees than in the rose bushes behind me. Every once in a while a dried leaf dances across the paving stones and scrapes up a new sound.
I hear at least a handful of birds — I wish I could recognize them by their song, but it will have to be enough that I know they are different, and that perhaps at some point in the past few days they’ve stopped in our yard for a little snack at our feeders.
I came outside to get away from the ambient sounds in the house. The tv is on in the office; the A/C hums throughout the house. I think I hear the electricity cycling through the appliance. It’s noisier outside, but it’s a living sound, harmonious and soothing.
Every once in a while a squadron of pelicans fly overhead, silently casting their shadows across the yard. I instinctively look up, but the sun is so bright it blinds me. It takes a long moment for my eyes to adjust to the page again. The best way for me to enjoy the light is to look away to the horizon. The breeze ripples across the water, creating a sparkling light show, shimmering as far as I can see.
The bay, once called the Bay of the Holy Spirit, is full of God’s holy presence today. I get why it was named so. It’s breezy, teeming with bubbly activity that is both powerful and calming. To sit here in silence is to pray.