It’s risen into the low thirties today in Northern Vermont and, as it’s been below zero for a bit, it’s a welcome reprieve. Welcome even if it ends in the snowstorm that’s raging outside my window right now. As I walked my dogs in the sudden glut of fat snowflakes, I relished the insulated, quiet nature of the snow that filled the air. There was a stillness that I could appreciate, a silence that comes with living deep in the woods in the midst of winter.
There’s a magic in that silence, one that I remember hating in my younger years. My strongest memories of my discomfort with silence was at dusk and dawn. This was a perplexing thing for me. All the books that I had read talked about the magic of the in-between times like dawn and dusk. These books spoke over and over again about how these were powerful times. I would sit, trying to listen to the magic. All I felt, though, was silence. And this silence unnerved me.
True silence would be too much like nothing for me. It made room for existential dread to creep in, because there was no distraction. There was just nothing, and that scared me. Little did I know that this silence I feared was a big step into being a person of power.
This fear of silence was something that I flirted with facing for years. It was a clawing thing at the back of my mind, something that was always waiting to come face to face with me. I would distract myself with whatever I could, but it was always there waiting for me. So, one day, I faced it.
I don’t mean to make it sound like a courageous thing. I’m not sure it was. It was more an insidious necessity. A gnawing need. There would always be an end to distraction, but this silence would always be patiently hiding in the shadows. It was when I stopped and forced myself to face it that things began to change.
First, it was difficult. There wasn’t anything to stop my brain to going to dark places. I began to question meaning in the world and in my life. It only went farther into morbidity, as I saw underneath all of this a fear of death and the unknown. I wanted to turn away. I wanted easy answers. There were none to be had. Just silence and me sitting with my fears.
I had always thought that it would be clear, definitive answers that would help me get rid of my fear of silence and nothingness. I was wrong. It was facing my fears and sitting with them that changed it all. It was letting that silence fill me and letting go that broke me and put me together again. In the midst of that silence, I realized something.
Silence is not an end. It is a beginning.
That is why dawn and dusk have power. They make the silence so you can create the sound. Their silence makes room for the song change from day to night, or night to day.
And we all create some sort of sound. We all carry a note, a song as our very molecules vibrate us into existence. Here we all are, each given this moment to weave our stories by merely being. In this silence, layers of illusion fall away and we can glimpse at the spark of life that we all carry. The spark of Divinity that connects us to something bigger than ourselves. In this silence, we are reminded to stand our ground and be present the best we can be. In this silence, we acknowledge the same light that we carry burns brightly in all other living things. They all carry their own song, too. Your very existence is weaving notes into the ecological orchestra playing around you, and that is magical.
Winter makes me think about this silence. Perhaps it’s the sleeping life around me. The notes of the forest are quieter. Maybe it’s the sound insulation of all the snow. Maybe it’s that want to bundle up and hibernate through winter. Maybe it’s all of this.
Doesn’t matter, I guess. I will take my time to embrace this seasonal silence. I encourage you to do the same.
Until next time
The Green Mountain Mage