Encountering Silence in Community


I had the chance to enjoy the outdoors this weekend with a dear friend.  Given that we are surrounded by forests and water in Western Washington, my friend and I didn’t have to drive far to immerse ourselves in the beautiful presence of non-human life.  It is a true gift to have access to these places, and I try to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it on a weekly basis.

It is not often, however, when exploring the outdoors with others, that I intentionally spend time in silence.  For that matter, it is not often that I–or we as a society–spend time in intentional silence period.  But, it is becoming increasingly evident that we are in deep need of such practices as silence, of slowing down and listening deeply to the life that surrounds us (and also the life within us).

And so, I invite you to this silence.  Here’s a window into my experience; I would love to hear yours!

Silence’s Secret Conversing

We were nearing the end of the trail when she paused,
“Would you mind if we walked in silence?” she asked.
Surprised, delighted and anxious, I agreed,
And we walked on.
All of the sudden the earth began to speak—
No—I began to listen.

How beautiful its voice:
The stream as it flows
The birds’ joyous songs
The sun proclaiming its brilliance
Through moss-covered branches
Blossoms alive at last.

My friend, a wise one,
Invited me into this conversation
So oft’ neglected.
Try it sometime, this silence—
Hardly a silence at all,
More so an opening, a looking out,
A listening to the spirit of a place,
Or a person, even yourself.
Grant that there is in your midst
One with something to say—
More, something worthy of love.



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