What is silence? Is it just lack of sound? We rarely have the opportunity to be somewhere that is totally silent or even almost silent.
Last week I was walking in a snow covered landscape in the Alps, out of range of the road. The usual sound of the river in the valley below was completely muffled by a blanket of snow. There was no wind and for a while the only noise was the sound of my walking poles squeaking as they pushed into the compacted snow.
After a few moments of paying attention I felt rather than heard a couple of minute sounds which dropped into this space; a tiny muffled gurgle of water in a stream running under the snow and then a short sharp squawk of a bird.
Back in London I go into my not so quiet garden. I hear the planes and the traffic but now I can tune into the huge silence which contains these sounds. By actively listening to the small sounds of the garden, water dripping, birds singing, the rustling of leaves I can turn my attention away from the discordant noise and towards the peaceful silence that holds everything within it.
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