When my son was five he once told me “All I need is some piece of quiet.” We smiled and wrote down his “mistake” in a notebook that we’ve kept to remind us of the funny things he’s said over the years. Today I was contemplating the need for peace and quiet while I was at the park. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves urges us toward the regular experience of solitude. “Long ago the word alone was treated as two words, all one. To be all one meant to be wholly one, to be in oneness, either essentially or temporarily.” I’ve been seeking out solitude on a daily basis and finding it so much easier now that I’ve left my job. But even in my solitude I could hear the sounds of others… airplanes crossing the sky, the recycling truck picking up the bins and putting them back down, even the sound of my son’s P.E. coach drifting on a public address system from his school’s field day events. The wind blew and there were sounds of palm fronds rattling, wind chimes tinkling, the constant buzz and hum of the city in the background.
I realize that true silence is nearly impossible to find. I realize that true solitude is also nearly impossible. We’re filled with the sounds of others even at our most alone. Rewinding old conversations, composing future blog posts, singing snatches of a song that plays in our head sometimes for days… So my goal is not complete silence, nor complete solitude. Just a piece of quiet.
I hope you find time for a piece of quiet today too.