I’ve been revelling in silence lately.
It doesn’t need to have anything added to or subtracted from it.
It’s enough on its own.
It could last thirty seconds, or six months, or forever.
Silence doesn’t need an explanation. No one must try X other responses before falling back onto it. It’s not a last-ditch option.
It’s not a first-ditch option either. It just is.
If silence were a place, it would be a cave.
My parents took us on a tour of a cave once when we were kids. It was in a state far away from the one we were living in at the time. The weather was extremely hot humid at that time of year, and so my first memory of the cave was of how good it felt to step into such a cool, relatively dry place.
My strongest memory of it was of how dark it was when our tour guide turned the lights off. I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face even when my fingers were less than an inch away from my eyes.
There was something peaceful about being surrounded by such complete darkness, though. I could hear water dripping onto a rock nearby. I could hear the people next to me breathing. There was no place for words in that moment. It was a (mostly) silent place, and I loved it.
I’ve never been back to that cave since, but I carry my memories of that silence with me everywhere.
Silence is an answer. Sometimes it’s the best possible one of them all.