Sound is what captivated me about Buenos Aires. Even in the quiet early morning hours when the cab dropped me off at the corner of Santa Fe and Austria, I walked home by the harsh light of streetlights instead of stars and heard chatter pouring from the windows, music spilling from the doors of restaurants and clubs, and words on the wind as it blew me towards home. It was a city that never slept and never slowed down, and its echoes were endless.
On our trip to the desert, I realized I had utterly forgotten what silence felt like. The mountains absorbed the sound of our voices, tucked them away, hid it in behind red rock faces stretching towards the sky. When we left the hotel at the crack of dawn and I lay in the grass next to my friend Molly, watching the sun spill onto the sand across the road, the absence of sound rang in my ears.
The noisiness of my life has been overpowering lately, keeping my attention bouncing from one snippet of sound to another as I struggle to keep up with the conversations, chaos, and cacophony. When the world turns up its volume, there’s a bench I go to in the middle of campus. I’m sure if you tried you could hear West End Avenue from where I sit. I’m sure it even sounds a little like Avenida Santa Fe. But if you stay perfectly still, and you close your eyes, you can hear the sound of silence. And I am constantly discovering that when I wrench my ears back from the noise of the world pressing in, my world goes quiet, and my heart goes quiet, too. In the sound of silence is where my thoughts start to slow, and my God begins to speak. There is where I do my deepest dwelling, and my best being. Maybe silence is not a state of my circumstance, but a state of my concentration.
This month, I’m challenging myself to participate in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes – composing a post in five minutes flat based on the one-word prompts the lovely Christina atCreative & Free has designed. While I won’t be posting every day, I hope this will motivate me to share small snapshots of my walk and wanderings more often in this space. To see all of my posts from this series, click here.