As I sit peacefully on the deck of our little cabin in the North Carolina woods, I realize that the silence is never without a cacophony of sounds--
- singing of birds that call from one to another;
- chirping cicadas and crickets;
- rustling leaves, blown by the gentle breeze;
- falling branches and pine cones;
- scurrying of voles and mice in the fallen leaves;
- chattering of squirrels;
- buzzing of bees;
- dripping of water from the leaves due to last night's rainfall; and
- periodic claps of thunder or rainfall.
These sounds celebrate the existence by each facet of God's creation and join in the chorus of praise for the Creator. These sounds do not decide to be filled with praise. . . it is inherent in their creation. Psalm 148:7-10 declares this reality,
"Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!"
What we as humans consider to be "silence" is merely the absence of the human voice, technology or the evidence of "civilization". These things may actually create noise, not sounds. This noise may or may not be offered in praise. It is this noise we seek to flee in order to find rest or be restored.
Finally, a thought from Mother Teresa on "silence":
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.
May we bring praise to God in the understanding that "silence is beauty" (Makoto Fujimura).