I’ve documented here that I really prefer it quiet. I took me a long time to realize my aversion to music on while trying to read, or write – or really, to do anything other than drive – was a part of a wholesale sensitivity to stimulus, broadly defined. Loud noises generally either freak me out or aggravate me (the one notable exception is that I love thunder and lightning). In a house with small children, my desire for it to be quiet is a bit of a liability: I do an awful lot of shushing. Too much shushing. But sometimes I just need ten minutes without anyone talking to – at! – me.
This preference for quiet is becoming more and more pronounced as I get older. These days my favorite evenings are those when I tuck my children in and then sit in silence and read or write. I have heard people say they find silence when they’re home alone (or, alone without any other adults) unnerving. For me, it’s the opposite. There’s something hugely comforting and familiar to me about silence. I’m sitting in silence as I write this, having just watched the sky wheel through a pale, eggshell-colored sunset, and I feel calmer than I have all day.
The silence sings. It is musical. I remember a night when it was audible. I heard the unspeakable. – Henry David Thoreau
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