When the neighbors go to bed and the computer stops humming, silence creeps into the dark. It shoves its way into the cracks and fills all of the open spaces regardless of the welcome it receives.
Silence is deafening. I shuffle bed sheets, sniffle, reach for the “on” button on the radio… then stop.
Why does silence frighten us so? The absence of noise to some sounds like a dream. No crying children, no talking co-workers, just uninterrupted, blissful silence. To others, it’s a nightmare. It makes us anxious and flighty. Something must fill the void. I run the clothes dryer at night (with clothes in it, of course). If it’s not running and it’s cool enough in the bedroom, I turn on the space heater and set it to cut off in an hour or two, giving me enough time to go to sleep before the sound stops.
Sitting here typing this, I wonder why I do these things. If it for whatever reason is totally quiet when I get into bed, I do feel anxious, vulnerable even. Consciously I know nothing is going to harm me or jump out in the night to frighten me, but somehow I’m comforted by the low purring of the heater or the thumping of clothes being tossed around the in the dryer.
Does silence imply loneliness? Are we afraid to face our darkest thoughts/emotions head on? Or, could it be that hearing a familiar sound simply puts us at ease and calms our anxious tendencies?
I would love to hear your thoughts or comments! Do you sleep with a sound machine (something I probably need to invest it), certain appliance running, window open, etc? What does silence mean to you?