The Deafening Silence
Silence can be deafening. It seems like an odd statement, but it’s true. I first experienced complete silence when I was growing up. I was raised on a farm outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We were about sixteen kilometers from the nearest town; the road we lived on did not have much traffic, and the nearest neighbour was well over a kilometer away. I spent a lot of time outside and I would often walk in the bushes (small forested areas in the fields) by myself. It was during the winter that the silence was most pronounced. There were no vehicles or people for kilometers around, and the snow would deaden the little sounds that nature made. If you stood still so that your walking didn’t make a sound, you could experience absolute silence. Very soon however, something would happen…your ears would become filled with a sound akin to roaring—the roaring of the surf on a beach. This roaring could become loud enough that it seemed deafening.
My wife, daughter and I have been living in Mexico for almost six months and we find ourselves moving back to Canada (in February, the coldest month of the year…sigh). My wife and daughter however, left this week and I will not be going back for another week or two. They left on Wednesday and when I returned home from dropping them off at the airport, I was confronted with the deafening roar of silence again, but this time, it was different. There was the hum of the refrigerator, the faint sound of traffic and the sound of a neighbor every so often; this was not the silence of a forest after a snowfall; it was almost sinister. It’s the absence of what should be there, the sound of family. This was not the beautiful silence of a forest, it’s an ugly silence that announces “You are alone.”