The Power of Silent Things

Words on a page make no actual sound.

The sentences in the book on my kitchen table don’t hiss like butter on a hot pan or even whisper like bare feet on carpet.

The sun makes no sound we can hear as it climbs up the sky and burns over the world.

The moon settles into the night without so much as a sigh.

Chrysanthemums and sugar maples stand noiselessly in space. The Mona Lisa and Frida Kahlo’s art hang wordlessly on white museum walls.

Ours is a world that gives much attention to the loud things. The things that blare and scream, shout and boom clutch our focus and don’t let go until the next noisy thing comes along.

Whether intentionally or not, we prioritize the loud things. And yet there is tremendous power in the silent things.

Written words have stirred revolutions, in souls and in societies, and accompanied those who thought they were the only ones. Trees vacuum up carbon dioxide. The sun and the moon have comforted, illuminated, elevated countless humans down on earth.

All without a sound.

Our silence, too, has power. We need not hasten to fill the space with noise. There is beauty in quiet between us. Only then can we hear what the soundless moment has to say.

If we are called to speak, speak. But if we are only stuffing noise into air, we can do as the chrysanthemums, sculptures, poetry do and step into the might of silence.

And it will be a moment when we will have given our attention over to not just the power, but the wisdom of silent things.

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Caitie Whelan