Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ends & Beginnings

Time Flies

Graduation time.
The end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.
Ashleigh graduates from Maxwell Heights high school as an Ontario scholar with two special awards, and prepares for university (Nipissing in North Bay) in the fall.
Jesse graduates from Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough.
Mixed emotions. Sadness at the too rapid passing of time. Pride in their accomplishments.
Congratulations Jesse and Ashleigh!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Less Volume Please

A Little Less Volume Please!
A wise old owl sat in an oak
The more he heard the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Why can’t we be like that old bird? Author unknown
  • Remember what peace there may be in silence – From desiderata
  • Silence is a virtue – Ben Franklin (?)
Is it possible that we have become uncomfortable with silence? Can we not stand to be alone with our own thoughts? Who are all those people on cell phones talking to? What are they talking about? Why does that loudmouth guy in the airport think we are impressed because he paces back and forth all the while barking orders to some minion on the other end.
Why do we need to either fill every second with meanless gibberings ourselves, or turn on the tv or radio and let someone else fill our ears with their inane chatter?
I guess if you are reading this you already know I am old and crotchety – a dinasour! It is about networking you might tell me. It is about staying in touch you could say. It is about connectedness you will inform me.
It is about human communication and social intercourse you may try to convince me.
I would nod my thanks for the lesson, and think to myself, Bah – humbug (or maybe a less polite version)!
We are assaulted by noise these days. Our houses give off their electronic hums and clicks and buzzes. Our skies carry the sounds of jet engines. Cars are quieter now, but their tires screech around corners just as noisely as ever, and their Bose systems pound our ears with their deep bass THUMP THUMP THUMP.
Police cars and ambulances and fire trucks wail their distressing yodels 24/7. But for me, the worst noise is the constant droning of human voices saying nothing in a million words or more.
Not so long ago, going to church provided a few minutes of silence before the service started. People entered quietly, took their pew, perhaps bowed their heads and offered a prayer, then sat in the stillness while the organ played softly some familiar and loved hymn. No one would have thought to intrude upon their solitude. Now? Just try to sit quietly and meditate for a few minutes. You may as well be in the bleachers at a ball game.
So where do you go to get in touch with yourself and your spirituality for a few minutes? Does anyone actually do that now? The bible says “be still, and know that I am God”. Don’t be too still though, or you may be branded as an antisocial loner and misfit.
One of the things that bother me about telephone conversations is that there is no room for a pause. If you think there is, you just try it sometime. When you sit with someone on your deck, or in front of your fireplace, there is room for easy pauses in the flow of talk. A companionable silence. Not so on the telephone. A pause is embarassing. Don’t misunderstand, the telephone is a wonderful tool, great for short informative conversations, giving or getting instructions or directions, making appointments, and with a distant friend you don’t see often for longer conversations and catching up. I just don’t understand how you can spend an hour on the phone with someone you saw just yesterday.
So what is my point? I am not sure I know.
I thought about writing about the louts that chew gum in inappropriate places, the dipsticks that never take their hats off in the house or anywhere else, the general lack of common sense manners, the university grads that cannot spell, the drivers that pass and pull in one car in front of you because they just know they are more important, the snippy sales clerks that make “thank you and have a nice day” one word, or say nothing at all, - and a thousand other irritating subjects. These things just make me angry, and when I think about them too much, I develop a profound sense of futility.
I suppose in reality I am just mourning the passing of a more polite and genteel age. And more specifically, mourning the loss of quiet contemplation.
  • Words are silver, silence is golden – ancient wisdom
  • Nothing gold can stay – Robert Frost
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