Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Q is for Quiet

I know how to be quiet. I enjoy it. I need it. Not everyone is comfortable with it though, and sometimes I find myself feeling a need to talk not because of my own discomfort but from what I sense is someone else's discomfort. I remember an incident in high school where I was with someone not comfortable with the silence. They said "You're not talking." To which I replied, "Neither are you." The difference was that I was okay with it.

There is a difference though, between silence and quiet. Sometimes I can be silent but I'm not quiet on the inside. Maybe my silence is an attempt to quiet my mind. I have to be careful sometimes not to get lost in my own thoughts and my own world, my own observations. Unlike some, I observe a lot but don't necessarily narrate what I see. There are times, of course, I'd like to be more narrative in the present. Maybe my hesitance stems from feeling like my take on things is always just a little "off" from the mainstream.

A quote I've always liked is:
The best way to find out things, if you come to think of it, is not to ask questions at all. If you fire off a question, it is like firing off a gun; bang it goes and everything takes flight and runs for shelter. But if you sit still and pretend not to be looking, all the little facts will come and peck round your feet, situations will venture forth from thickets and intentions will creep out and sun themselves on a stone. . . .from The Flame Trees of Thika by Elizabeth Huxley

I know there's a time for questions and a time for noise. I know you don't always get the answers you want just by sitting there. But there's just something about that quote that I like. Something about when the time is right, it all comes together.

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