I don’t do normal well. One of the things I love the most in life is talking to people that society has cast aside. (What term are we supposed to use these days? Weirdos? Freaks? Losers? Socially unaware? UNCLEAN?) They always love to talk. I love to listen. They always have a story. I get bored with everything BUT story. I was walking by the river near downtown Lindsay Ontario with my dawg Tucker, when I passed a vagrant. (Wait – what term are we supposed to use these days? Homeless? Drifter? Transient? Nomad? Vagabond? Of no fixed address?) As I got closer, I realized that this person of no fixed address was a woman. (Wait – what term are we supposed to use these days? Dame? Lady? Doll? Toots? The fairer sex? Gal? Adult human female?) Anyway, I usually try to at least make eye contact and smile when I come across an “outsider” but she pretty much ignored me as Tucker and I walked by her and her bag of possessions. Suddenly realizing I was at the end of the trail, we circled back and walked by her again. This time though, she met my eyes, I smiled, and she said, “What a gorgeous dog you have. What kind is it?” FIGURES – I CAN’T TALK! Now I’M the weirdo! So I pulled out my iPhone and showed her the note I’d written down a while ago in preparation for people asking me about Tucker when I was out walking him during my silent days. “Sorry I can’t talk. My dawg Tucker is a 4 year old Great Pyrenees.” She smiled politely, as if to say, “Yup. You’re the weird one in this conversation,” then said nothing more. I don’t live in the city so coming across people of “no fixed address” is a rare thing. I thought about going back to see if I could convince her to share her story but I’m pretty sure that would send her running to the cops. (Wait – what term are we supposed to use these days? Constabulary? The Man? The fuzz? Pigs? Five-O? PO-PO? Donut eaters?)
I’ve noticed that some people say less to me. Some people become over talkative. Some people use their hands to explain things or talk louder as if I’m deaf. I’ve also noticed that when people look away while I’m trying to explain something to them using actions, it feels like I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone and all of a sudden they decide to leave the room.
There’s only one thing better than a summer thunderstorm. A summer thunderstorm over the lake at the cottage!! Maybe it was because I was practicing silence for the day that I noticed how especially incredible the build up to this storm was. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else feel like summer storms are one of the very few things that actually feels like God is communicating? This time, God was going on and on and on and on and on about something! (Probably the fact that “One Nation Under Him” might elect Donald Trump as their President!) Seriously – I’ve never heard thunder roll on for 25 minutes straight! I think God was totally taking advantage of me being silent for the day. I did my part. I listened. And listened. And listened. Aaaaaaand… nope. I got nothin. After the wind & rain & hail had finally stopped, Tucker and I watched the sun set. Later that night, we watched the full moon setting over the lake.
Everything that happened during this week’s day of silence reminded me of something the Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher John O’Donohue wrote:
“For Equilibrium, a Blessing:
Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.
As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.
Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.
As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.
As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”
― John O’Donohue
Spiritual Benefit During My 12th Day Of Silence = 1.9/10