Friday, April 5, 2013

quiet & peace


I grew up in a quiet house. Readers, not tv watchers. One sibling. When my oldest son was born it was baseball season and I started listening to sports radio. I loved the old-fashioned past-time of listening to ball games on the radio, and also grew fond of the talk shows--each host had a different personality and they became my companions on days that were sometimes lonely. I started always having the radio on when in the kitchen or car, in recent years usually tuned to National Public Radio. So many smart and interesting people! I sometimes switched to music--blues, classical or jazz. But there was always something to listen to.

Recently, feeling overloaded with other people's voices, insights, news,  I've been turning it off. I cook and eat breakfast in silence, watching the birds at the feeder and bath or watching the cats watching the birds, or not watching anything at all. Just cooking, eating, daydreaming...Crowds of chatter drift away leaving room for my own thoughts, ideas, insight.

Driving too, I sometimes turn off the radio, tune out the other voices, and allow my mind (though not the car) to drift.

Sometimes I invite those companions back in, and am happy to have them. But I'm glad to have discovered that silence, too, can be enriching.

33 comments:

  1. Hello Jen, Living in a large city with an incessant barrage of (largely unnecessary) noise, I have also learned to treasure quiet. When things do quiet down here, I want to enjoy the peace rather than start activities such as listening to music or watching movies.

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    1. I do think there's a correlation there. Someone wrote a book about noise pollution and just how hard it is to fin anywhere truly silent.

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  2. I wonder what these things say about us. I can't stand quiet unless I'm reading; otherwise I feel it's very lonely. I need some kind of background music or TV, oddly, to be able to focus. I've tried listening to NPR (and things of that ilk) and I find the material very interesting, but I also find my mind wanders away from the story into my own thoughts. Interesting.

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    1. I like listening to isolated programs on NPR, but realized if it was on constantly I stopped paying attention. For someone reason in the past few years I started listening to that more than music, so now I'm getting back into music.

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  3. As teenagers, we loved the radio. As I get older, I find I crave silence more than anything. I listen to the radio when I need help in falling asleep, which is odd, I know, but mostly I like to be with my thoughts or even my own vacant mind!

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    1. I remember my first transistor radio! One of my sons used to love to listen to old radio shows. I'm glad there is still good radio available--when I travel I enjoy listening to local stations.

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  4. Silence is golden, right? As at this very moment when all I hear is the wind bustling and the chimes on the porch, it's relaxing. However when I'm cooking I like listening to music, usually jazz or classical. Unfortunately I've never really learned to enjoy talk radio which is too bad because I know NPR has some great shows. Maybe I'll practice, not right now though.

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    1. Newark used to have a good jazz station--Is it still on? I haven't found one in Boston. In the Catskills we have no radio reception!

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  5. I love the quiet. I feel that I can understand my thoughts and feelings better when there is nothing else demanding my attention. Unfortunately it doesn't happen often. Take care. Chel x

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    1. Yes! It's odd that quiet is the exception in our lives.

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  6. Like Rachel, I too listen to the radio in the night, but to get back to sleep, from about 5am. The rest of the time I am perfectly happy to spend most of my day in total silence. I live quietly because of a health problem anyway, so rarely see people, but actually enjoy it. I actually do not understand people who need noise all of the time. Don't they want to be able to hear themselves think?

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    1. I know other people who listen to the radio at night to fall asleep--that's so interesting!
      Thanks for visiting!

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  7. I bought a radio from GoodWill a few months ago.

    It lives in the kitchen and I love to listen to NPR.

    I feel part of a community. And I learn such random and interesting facts.

    It makes me smile and I need all the smile I can make these days.

    I always wear one when I read one of your posts.

    :-) J.

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    1. I agree, about NPR, and your word community is perfect!

      Your posts are the ones that make people smile--you're the funny one in the family. I'm taking lessons from you in not being so serious.

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  8. I am a media junkie, but I have no radio in my little truck, much to the chagrin of my drivers, but thirty minutes of quiet to and from work is a kind of vacation from news and noise.

    My husband likes to go to sleep with the BBC. He apparently doesn't really listen to the news, just the drone of voices, unlike me who finds the news disturbing and I can't go to sleep!

    In the morning, I love the quiet. Read my blogs, drink my coffee and woe to Joe if he wants a conversation.

    I LOVE radio stories. CBS used to broadcast a story late at night. I'd hear them driving home to California from Wyoming.

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  9. Wyoming, huh? Tell me more.

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  10. I sometimes enjoy to listen to radio, music or chat, but usually I turn off it and just enjoy the silence. So, I completely understand what you mention and how to enjoy your time.

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    1. I have the image of Japan as a quiet place, a country that respects silence (even though I know that your cities and suburbs are as bustling as ours). It must be my exposure to tea gardens and haiku.

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  11. I'd always tuned in NPR in the morning to get the news before I got up. But for the past couple of years I've been going back to sleep and incorporating the news into my dreams from 7 a.m. until 9. It's most peculiar - I'm often trying to give Obama sage advice; get a word in edgewise while someone is being interviewed because I think I'm in a 3-way conversation; or I'm back in uniform preparing for war. It's probably an aging thing. I've read that the Japanese use erotica over earphones for sexual dreams. NPR's content just doesn't encourage that sort of dreaming.

    Quiet is good.

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    1. Too funny--that could make for some annoying and disturbing dreams! I'm glad they their correspondent from Idaho contribute.

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  12. I generally eat breakfast by French doors that look out onto the garden, and I like to do that quietly, with no background music or chat - its very calming. But once I'm in the car I listen to Radio 4 (prob like your NPR?) or sometimes music. Then if I'm painting furniture (which I do for my unit in a Vintage shop), I often listen to Radio 4 Extra - which is BBC programmes (comedy, plays, etc) from the past (often the 1950s, 60s) - v nostalgic! Abby x

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    1. Changing from talk radio to silence at breakfast has been refreshing. Your Radio 4 Extra sounds wonderful!

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  13. I guess the busier our lives get and the more we are surrounded by media messages and people shouting at us or each other, the more precious silence becomes... xxo

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  14. I agree and understand what you mean Jen. With a busy job and family life I enjoy the silence as well.

    Have a lovely Sunday!

    Madelief x

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    1. Thanks, Madelief. Enjoy your garden!

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  15. Jen... Having worked with children for 30 years, I am happy and content with quiet! However DH is a tv junkie! We even had one on the bathroom counter..before it was fashionable! Getting dressed to the Today show was nerve wracking! When I was a teenager I listened to WLS radio out of Chicago every night. Going to sleep to the Beatles, Motown etc. Was amazing to a South Georgia girl to hear about temperatures in the Loop! Enjoy your quiet.. I cherish those times.

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    1. Love your radio story. For me it was KSAN in SF. Late nights with the radio were such an intimate experience.

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  16. yes!!! there is a bliss state when the studio is silent. my mind works more completely. i love the silence.

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    1. Do you sill mix it up with audio books?

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  18. Like you I have been fond of listening to the radio since very young. I had a tinny small one, I took with me in bed. My favourite program was one called "Good Evening mr.Edison". I will never forget the voice of that man (a well known radio host in greece). And I owe to him my love for music from all over the world...
    I can be at home without music, I agree it's enriching in its own way.
    (But in the car I must have music to concentrate in driving!)

    enjoy a lovely sunday evening dear Jen : )

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    1. It's amazing how powerful those memories of music and programs can be--epsecially ones we listened to when young.

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