Silence and the Music of the Human Voice

by Diana Rankin

water drop

I love silence. I love the peaceful quiet of my home in the early morning hours before the world is awake. I love the quiet steady hum in my vehicle with the radio off and the windows rolled up. I love the quiet of the woods and the openness of an empty farm field. I even love the quiet of an elevator when I am alone in that steel box traveling up and down to the floor where the chatter of human living will take over the silence.

Yet, there are times when I love to hear the sweet sound of human voices, not just one voice, but the cacophony of dozens of voices with the jumble of words, tones, and different pitches of sound. These are the times that my ears sing with the beautiful, blissful music of the human voice.

The first time I noticed how much this meant to me was after a weekend silent retreat. After nearly 50 hours of sitting, eating, and living in stillness, the human voice was so overwhelmingly beautiful I cried. It was also overwhelming. Moving back into a group of voices was more than I could deal with for another couple of days.

I still find that true all these years later. Whenever I spend a day in silence I need to allow myself to move slowly back into an auditory world where I can hear – and appreciate – the human voice as music of the finest order. It is then I can sit in a coffee house or restaurant or bookstore and listen, really listen to others beneath their words. It is then I can feel the passion of the others’ conservations or the heartfelt talk between people. It is then I can truly hear beyond words, and in doing so enrich my life, and hopefully the lives of everyone whose voice I hear.

© 2014 Diana Rankin

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