Saturday, January 10, 2009


Last night the house was silent. It was silent and I could not sleep. As I lay there staring at the ceiling, I flashed back to nights ten years past, the last time I was captive in a silent house, alone in the dark, save the familiar creaks and groans of a mature home settling in for the night. I did not like it then, and I was brutally reminded last night that I still don't like it.

I'd surely fail at hermit school.

Last night was a rare occurrence where hubby was out for the evening and cable was out. I was alone with the silences and my book.

My habit is to fall asleep with the television on. Terrible, I know, to let the TV in to the bedroom. But it does not keep me from sleeping. I turn off like a switch promptly at ten, reduced to a sleepy bundle of mumbles. Hubby is solicitous, asking if the television is too loud. I murmer that it is fine. He then happily turns to whatever channel I might not approve. I like the background noise, obviously. That powerfully came home to me last night.

In the evening also hubby is a constant source of chatter. He may talk about the car we might buy next, the pop culture topic he is obsessing over, when we shall do dishes next, on the state of our neighbours, the oddity of our relatives, when we might visit our friends again, what we shall have for dinner or where we go out next, or any of dozens of cares and interests that fill our days. Many days I only half listen, a book open in front of me, my replies reduced to hums and uh huhs. It comes to me that his chatter is a welcome white noise to cover the silence.

It was the horror of silence, ten years ago, that spurred me to join a dating service that led me to my hubby. In all my life, I've only lived alone those two short years, and I hated it. I'd gone straight from home to teen parent, and for the next twenty years, I worked on raising my children and growing up myself. But it was a great time, full of industry and life. I love the background noise of family.

I wondered last night, as I stared at the ceiling, in my abhorrence of silence, am I hiding from my own inner thoughts? I don't think so. I have a rich internal life, which hubby, exhasperated, persistently draws me out, "Hellooooo, are you listening?" I take the time to reflect, and to write down those deep reflections here. I don't think I am hiding from myself.

I do fear, though, that introspection alone is it's own danger. Perhaps I fear, in the deep silence, I might withdraw completely from the active, cheering, distracting clamour of daily life. There is a simple joy in just living. I don't want to forget that.

I borrow the cosy picture from Fredy's blog: