Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thoughts on Silence

(Linked prose poetry blocks - a work in progress)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  The absence of sound.  Calm.  Censorship.  Quiet.  Reticence.  Stillness.  Death.  Taciturnity.

2.  I only have a few memories of my paternal grandfather.  He worked hard all of his life, but he was a quiet man.  I remember driving down to Galveston and putting out crab traps with him.  He gave a few quick instructions and maybe few explanations about the best way to cook a crab, but mostly he worked in silence.  I watched him pull the trap out of the water as the sea made a wooshing sound in protest.  The metal door of the trap opened with a crackle and the crabs inside tried to make one last desperate attempt to escape.  We packed the crabs in ice and drove back home to Houston.  We had no idea.  He seemed eternal.  He died just a few years later. 

3.  Lies are told in silence.

4.  Sometimes life reminds you how close you are to death.  On September 11, 2001, I walked into an oceanography lab and found my lab partners standing around a small white television.  It had about a ten inch screen and must have been kept in a closet for emergencies because I had never seen it before.  We watched in shock and horror as smoke rose from the towers.  Speechless.  Our minds were racing with questions, “Why”, “How”, “What does this mean?”, but our voices were silent. 

5.  There is the silence of things left unsaid. 

6.  My favorite kind of silence is the silence of the sea.  In graduate school, I went out on month long research cruises.  My job was to collect surface water samples from a collection system in the ship’s lab.  My shift was 12 hours.  When I was not on shift, I would go to the top deck, stand against the rail, close my eyes, feel the wind, and listen to the silence. 

7.  I lost God once.  I searched for him in books and churches, but I found him in silence.  When the chaos of fear and doubt and busyness is quieted, there is only spirit left.  Mother Teresa said, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.” 

8.  Returning kindness and grace in the face of disrespect and rudeness is a form of silence.