Day 16, 2019

Silence and Sound

Authors: Dr. Carol Marie Webster and Melissa Barber

Happy Sixteenth Day of Thanks Everyone!

Today, we give thanks for Silence and Sound and their ability to introduce us to the world and to ourselves. Please enjoy this reflection by Dr. Carol Marie Webster. 

At some point early in my life, let’s say somewhere between ages 6 and 8, I became aware of the role of silence in my life, specifically its impact on my sense of self and well-being.  And, while I likely would not have articulated it in this manner in my early years, it is fair to say that this awareness led me to search out, find, and bask in various manifestations of silence.  Without getting too philosophical, I define silence as a space of balance that is audible; it can be heard and thus felt.  With this definition it is clear that sound and silence are in a dynamic relationship. 

Sound: I was born in the 20th century during a time that smacking a baby’s bottom was the common technique used to jumpstart a baby’s lungs for breathing.  In this scenario the introduction to sound (hearing the smack on one’s own bottom), pain, and breathing happen within such close succession (at points overlapping) that the experience meld as concurrent events. Although the technique of jumpstarting a baby’s lungs has changed, the common human experience is to enter the world in full sound, where voice (our yells and screams) announce health and wellness, and preparedness for the journey of living.  In the beginning was sound; silence portends disaster. 

Painting By, Carol Sorhaindo

Yet, human relationship with sound begins before birth. From conception, humans bathe in the sounds of the inner workings of the body of the birth mother (the pumping of the heart, the movement of blood through the body, the expanse and collapse of lungs breathing) and the rhythm of the world outside the birth mother’s body.  It is here that humans begin to learn to understand some of the nuances of life and living and our potential role in it.  In the birth mother’s womb, with limited yet powerful abilities – through movement and chemical changes – babies participate in the life of she who incubates our delicate development.  But it is in entering the world that we lay claim to it and take ownership of our role as a member of the community of the living.  

Silence:  It can be captured in the pause of wind or breeze, the halt of traffic on a generally busy road, the moment just after a live performance ends and the burst of applause begins, the space between the notes of a song.  Silence is also in a caregiver’s humming, the exquisite rhythms of African and Afro-Caribbean spiritual drumming, and the unbridled laughter of children.  Silence is not in the hesitations of life – often filled with anxiety, hungers, unease, and unrest, but in the balance of life.  Silence is the presence of present: in the hum of a chant or prayer, the suspension in deep meditative rituals and in ecstatic ritual dances.   In silence we rest, rejuvenate, allow our cells to exhale, and enter into conversation with our deepest selves and with that which is greater than and beyond ourselves.  

On this 16th day of Melissa Thanks, I invite readers to search, discover, find, make, and/or invite silence into their life journey.  With this I encourage giving to Third Root Community Health Center

Love Ya,Have a Great Day of Thanks!

Melissa Barber

Published by: Dream Without Borders

Artist| Scientist| Creative Entrepreneur| Activist: working at intersections of arts, health, healing, and activism, my practice focuses on the performance and performative articulations of vulnerable bodies, exploring and examining expressions of identity and belonging. I hold particular interest in the lives and aspirations of the African Diaspora/Black Atlantic in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Categories Melissa's 2019, Melissa's Thanks, Notes From The People