Tag Archives: silence

Two kinds of silence

There are two kinds of silence at play in my life:

  • Breathe deep and enjoy the incredible beauty of the world.
  • Situations that flabbergast me into silence because I can’t find words to express my feelings.

The first silence:

I arrived home from a few days in Paradise (at Mount Rainier). No cell coverage or WiFi just wild flowers and mountains, fresh air and sunshine, waterfalls…and, of course mosquitoes.

Even though there were quite a few bugs at Paradise, getting home is overrated.

The second silence:

The first post I read when I got home was this one, about the situation of the children taken from their families at our border.

The ugliness and nastiness of children’s situation is an example of the…I don’t know the right word(s) for it…that so often silences me these days.

I am in the set of people who has no voice because my representatives do, in fact, represent my views. I can, and did, send some feedback about the children, but a freshman congress woman from a notoriously progressive district is not going to be listened to in the other Washington (D.C.).

What kind of crazy is this?

I feel like some kind of multiple personality disorder is being shoved down my throat. Am I a calm woman on a mountain being mindful of the scent of the flowers, the sound of water tumbling down, and the bright colorful charm of flowers and the majesty of the mountain? Or am I mindful of current events? Being ready to scream with frustration by having no say or way to make a difference and allowing my heart to be wrung by the thought of children taken from their families, the destruction of wildfires, earthquakes, etc.

I can’t be both at once, and yet that is the world I live in.

A pall hung over us

Last summer we had an unusual situation, a significant amount of smoke from wildfires in British Columbia came down into the area and there was no wind to blow it off. The silence during the smoky hot spell felt eerie.

The reflections are an indication of the very low winds. In the evenings in summer the water is often fairly choppy instead of the light ripple. In the morning it is usually calmer but not the mirror like stillness. The sunsets are often lovely but at that time the sun just faded out through the thick atmosphere.

An Edgy Idea

I realize that this idea is over the Edge 😉 But it came to me when I saw the prompt.

In this morning’s Seattle Times there was an editorial titled “Hate speech is often free speech, but how can we stop it?” by Caitlin Ring Carlson, an assistant professor at Seattle University.

It was among other editorials about the presidential candidates and responses to current events. You probably know more than I about the issues, so I won’t bore you with them. I mention this one because I thought of a response, one that I haven’t seen anyone else put forward. Take the profit motive away.

We live in a ratings driven world. Part of the problem is not related to “free speech”.  The media today gives us more and more of what we watch (witness how many hours of “tiny houses” showed on the television yesterday, they must have shown every tiny house in the country!). Decisions about what to air, and how much face time various folks get, is profit driven, news today is entertainment, not a public service, and ratings drive what we see. We are seeing more hate speech because it is getting watched and advertisers need to promote their drugs for sleepless, depressed folks with low-T who need to have their closets organized and take a cruise.

Here is something anyone can do: Deny an audience to people who are guilty of hate speech. Flip the channel to HGTV or re-runs of crime shows when the TV shows hate speech, better yet turn it off. Turn off the radio, don’t buy the magazine, don’t go to the web site for more information. If a debate turns away from serious issues, then turn it off. When ratings drop these people will get less media attention (which is what they are after, running for president every time your name is put in front of people is free advertising) and they will have less power.

In today’s world silence is something we fear. It is a form of communication and it can, and probably should, be used to help curb the excesses of this somewhat surreal presidential campaign.

Silence…Is it Golden?

The things going on in my life of late have been causing me lots of negative emotions: frustration, sadness, anger. Those emotions tend to silence me.

At one point this past week, I was tempted to go and shout at a couple of people, in a very sarcastic tone, “Heaven forbid that anyone ever do anything that is easier or more convenient for ME!!” Followed by the suggestion that they should take a long hike on a short pier. I did not do that. I do wonder a bit what the shock of the worm turning would have done to them.

Why didn’t I do it? I recognized that they were not sole source of the negative feelings and not truly worthy of all my wrath, although I did eventually say this:

I realize that my time and feelings are of no value in the grander scheme of things, but I am trying to train myself that they should at least matter to me and get out of frustrating situations that I can avoid, since there are plenty I can’t.

Hopefully I did not go too wrong in saying that. Most things do pass or get resolved without saying anything, and saying hurtful things doesn’t usually ameliorate a situation.  But I am trying to learn how to take care of me, and just letting people roll over me without saying anything at all doesn’t seem right either.

I don’t think it is wrong to walk away and just leave a confrontational situation much of the time. Frequently people are simply not interested in anything except their own viewpoint and showing they are right, they just want the eye-of-the-tiger adrenaline rush of rising up to the challenge of a rival. Letting that fall flat is enough. It is not really worth the time and effort to correct folks, or stand up for yourself, most of the time.

One thing that always puts me at a disadvantage in stressful situations is that my feelings are feelings, not words, and it takes me a while to figure out how to put them into words. By the time I figure out what to say, the more verbally oriented have manipulated me and/or the situation or ranted until I am cornered, feeling wronged and inadequate and all I want to do is go away and be left alone.  A week or so after the fact I  often come up with a brilliant retort. But, like my tiny bit of Mandarin, the brilliant rebuttal never comes to mind when I really need it.

This isn’t a very happy post, but I am starting to plan a couple of humorous posts about some of the past week’s dramas. Just starting to see the humor in the situations is a sign that I am starting to bounce back. But it is going to take me a bit of time to find the right words.