Monday, March 2, 2009

Moving into Silence

Lately, I've noticed a tendency in myself to be silent. I notice the times when in the past I would have lifted my voice, cast my vote, begged to disagree, affirmed, explained, expounded, taken center stage and maybe even pounded the table or waved a fist, at least metaphorically. I've noticed a decrease in the times I've felt a need to make myself and my opinion and my experience known. There have been fewer times I've said, "Oh, I read that, too." or "I saw that movie, and I think...." or "I've been there. Did you see...?" I focus less on when it is my turn to speak, to prove my worth, to make myself visible, to teach and direct.

Instead, I move into silence.

I wonder if this is a sign of age, a new stage of age. My father, age 85, for the last year or so has stated softly, but firmly that he prefers more and more to be home. He is content for the most part to be alone in his routine. He is not bored or depressed, but his needs for interaction, for society, for external stimulation are less. I've always valued winter as a time of hibernation, and I see that cave time becoming a priority for my father. He seems to be slowing down the rhythm of his days and his body and moving into a more prolonged hibernation. I see those signs in myself as well.

In the past I've said I want my crone years, whatever time period that represents, to be about expanding, about opening even more, and yet, here I am becoming still, a statue in the park, an ice sculpture in a grey, below zero day, a presence in the corner of the room. No, I'm not asleep nor even dozing, but I am still, silent. I am opening and expanding in silent ways. So little feels truly light enough or deep enough to need my voice. I am turning over that job to someone else and allowing myself to finally integrate the words I have been saying, but not always practicing. The outloud words are giving way to the silent spaces. The voice identified as mine is lowering itself into a deeper register.

However, I have no wish to be one of those old people who suddenly clears her throat and makes a pronouncement. "She doesn't speak often, but when she does, you better pay attention," says a grandchild or younger friend or a person in the back row.

No, I just know it is time to be silent, to not get in the way of what it is I am to know and to be.

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