I come from the country where life was always cushioned by silence. A walk to the village was a half a mile where only the languid mutterings of a herd of milking cows could be heard above the rustling of the hedgerows. At night the daylight gave way to complete darkness and silence. Getting away from it all meant taking some time in my bedroom away from the easy conversation of my family or again – going for a walk up a pretty by-road where traffic seldom frequented.
I took silence for granted, it was always within arms reach. Now I live in the city. My home is a cute little basement flat just a 10 minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Dublin City Centre. It was once a little haven of quiet but now I live under a family of four including two boys under 5 squashed into a tiny one bedroom apartment with no outdoor space. Added to that I longer live alone in my little basement flat which means regular conversation without the space to escape one another. I get up earlier and earlier to enjoy the peace of dawn to work and create.
No matter where I walk to I am surrounded by people and often approached by street beggars with their tale of woe – clearly I just have ‘that’ face. The simple pleasure of dining alone is interrupted by the intentional over exuberance of neighbours who need the world to know how Facebook fabulous their life is. Drivers are irate and the product of their anger even follows me into the urban sanctuaries – the parks – if only there were mythical sound barriers buffering greenspaces from the effects of civilisation. Earphones provide relief on the streets but that is not silence – not the silence I crave – ambient silence where the gentle whisper of the world allows my mind to wander.
Image Source: Vinoth Chandar (Flickr)