Homage to Quiet

“It is the summer’s great last heat,

It is the fall’s first chill: they meet.”

–Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

I had a big “AHA!” moment last week. I had an opportunity to spend a couple of hours doing some housework in utter quiet. Amalia and I were in somebody else’s house and (despite Amalia’s best efforts!) we couldn’t figure out how to hack into their computer so we could listen to music as we worked. Alas.

But we only had a couple of hours to get our work done, so we just got to it: Amalia in her area of the house, and me in mine. Without music. Without a radio to help pass the time. This is not at all our usual modus operandi.

Generally when either of us is working, the first thing we do is we set up our diversions: What’ll it be today, Amalia–The Pirates of Penzance soundtrack? Some bluegrass fiddle music? J. J. Heller? Or should we turn on the radio and catch up on the news? (Gilbert and Sullivan it is!)

Then we work away. Our hands are busy, our heads are busy. We chat and we laugh and we sing. It’s a very nice way to work.

But this day, Amalia had a job to do, and so did I, so we did it, sans diversions. Our hands were busy, our heads were . . . not.

The trees are sparkling with color and light down by our pond, and I catch little Mack in a quiet spot down there.

The trees are sparkling with color and light down by our pond, and I catch little Mack in a quiet spot down there.

And I learned something, Gentle Reader. Or, more accurately, I re-learned something, because I used to know this. Here it is. Are you ready? Here’s what I learned: a quiet brain is a creative brain.

As soon as I adjusted to the utter quiet (not without some anxiety, at first, I am accustomed, as you know, to lots of noise and clutter and activity, at all hours of the day and sometimes night, alas) I was amazed at how my brain started to work on creative projects and problems, too. As my hands kept busy.

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Here’s a quiet spot: down by our muddy little pond

When I finally adjusted to the awkward and enforced quiet state, my brain started to work, and the two hours that we spent working just flew by. I caught up on some heavy-duty prayer time, I worked out a few problems that I had been struggling with, and I wrote (in my mind) something very funny indeed.

I was surprised at how much I had actually accomplished at the end of the two-hours-plus-time span, and it was all because it was so . . . incredibly . . . QUIET.

I think we need quiet, (certainly occasionally but perhaps often) don’t you? We need it. It’s not just a pleasant way to spend a bit of time. I think I personally need this quiet more than I realize. I think my spirit and my brain and my heart suffer a tiny bit from not allowing myself quiet, from time to time.

My wildly-creative and efficient brain-work that I did while I was forced to work in stillness was a reminder to me about that.

Perhaps your brain and heart and spirit are craving a bit of quiet, too. Can you get away by yourself–sans MP3 player, sans radio or ipad or iwhatever–today for a bit and just enjoy the rejuvenating effect of Quiet. Stillness. Peace.

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Star-gazing is a lovely quiet activity. We’ve been watching this delicate sliver of a crescent moon and Venus every night in the evening sky.

Here’s one of my favorite verses from the Bible that I hope for you today, Gentle Reader.

“The Lord bless you and keep you,

The Lord make His face to shine upon you

and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you

Peace.” –Numbers 6:24

That’s my wish and hope for you today.

Now that I’ve waxed on and on about quiet, I really need to remind you of something that is not quiet-related. It’s this awesome sale that I’ve had the fun of being part of this week. It’s been a pretty cool experience for a newbie blogger like myself.

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15 thoughts on “Homage to Quiet

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Roy,
      Your house sounds like ours. Try an hour or two of quiet just once, Roy, just for me, and let me know how it goes. You may come up with a million-dollar idea, or perhaps invent something remarkable . . . you never know!

  1. nita

    Sometimes I have noise going sometimes I opt for quiet. There was a time when I avoided the quiet except when I was driving because it smothered me. I’ve adjusted (sort of) and once again enjoy the quiet and work on projects or talk to God. I’m glad you rediscovered the beauty of quiet.

  2. Chef William

    I have never let go of quiet time. It has always been a most important part of my day. I do believe that without it I would surely have flipped out years ago. I can drive for hours without ever turning on the radio. Now the real joy is when I get a chance to listen to the quiet around me. Like a walk deep in a forest, or along a lonely spot on a lake. I am quiet but nature is singing to me. I always think of the words of a song I learned as a wee lad.
    “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own.
    Quiet time is the best time to be in contact with your inner self….It is so refreshing.
    So make it a point to give yourself that gift daily.

  3. Francene Stanley

    I really appreciate quiet. All my work, bith physical and mental is done in silence. In fact, I can’t write if there is even a tiny bit of noise–too distracting. I’m lucky to have the whole morning, from 6am to 12pm in utter peace.

  4. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    I love quiet. I miss that about the country because in the city, you never have true quiet. But, my best friend (as a result of chemo some 31 years ago) suffers from constant buzzing and other sounds in her ears. To her, quiet is the worst thing because then she hears the sounds. She’s found she needs to have a radio or TV on constantly – that “cancels” out the sounds in her ears somewhat.

  5. Susan

    I, too, need quiet, Amy, and am fortunate enough to have several spaces in my day in which to retreat. And, like you, I find it a great bringer of creativity. And I love the scripture you quote. We always sing it at church baptisms, with its KJV words. I especially love the words ‘The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’ What a beautiful scripture you quote, and one which ties in with your ‘quiet’ theme perfectly. Loved your post, as I always do. Such rich blessing.

  6. Abbi

    I have long been a fan of quiet. Growing up we never had a TV but my Mom loved to have the radio on much of the time and I distinctly remember not caring for that. Now in my own home the radio is never on, the TV is only on in the early morning and late at night when my husband watches (the kids and I have a policy to never turn it on) and CD’s are only played around once a month. That doesn’t mean my house is truly super quiet as I do have 4 active children but I like being able to focus on what is truly going on here in our home, enjoy making our own music (we all play instruments) and sing ourselves, enjoy time reading aloud together and yes, while working just spend time thinking. We also have an hour of truly quiet time set aside each afternoon to be used for reading, sleeping or just thinking.
    I do generally listen to the radio when I drive as I have chosen that as one time to listen to a little news or Christian music.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Abbi,
      Your home sounds absolutely lovely. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job of promoting quiet and order and peace, and that is a sweet thing.

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