If you’ve ever been in a quiet neighborhood, or even more so in the woods, after a heavy snow, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. When blankets of white, grace the branches of the trees, and cover the ground. It feels almost sacred, like the snow shouldn’t be disrupted by man, and there is a tangible silence. The world is still spinning, nature still moves, but it feels like time has stopped for just that moment. It is a magnificently beautiful experience that I cherish.
In reality snow is actually a natural sound insulator, because of the pockets of air trapped between the flakes. God, in His wisdom, gave us this gift of contrast to our modern world It can be a little disappointing that the snow plows come, and the salt is dispersed, and we have to pull ourselves away from this pause, for work and school.
Coming home from the March for life one year, traffic was stopped on Interstates and marchers were trapped in buses and cars. Food, water, and gasoline were brought to the stranded, and several Masses were celebrated. How tremendous that must have been, in the silent winter oasis that God prepared for them.
I’ve also experienced this same sort of thing, in a way, at convents. If you’ve never been to one think about “The Sound of Music”, Maria didn’t fit in, because she was too loud, in voice and movement. They moved quietly and slowly. It’s beautiful, this constraint, the purposeful spirit of calm, it seems almost contemplative, and leaves one with a feeling of peace, just like the snow. A void of noise to be filled with the silence of God.
Living silence in a very busy and loud world, takes effort. Rushing and hurrying is loud, not to our ears maybe, but to our souls, and the souls around us. Retreats offer us this silence, but maybe we should take a look again at the religious communities. Maybe we should make silence for ourselves…just walking from the chapel to and through our task for the day…in search of that sound of Silence.