July 1, 2010

Sounds of Silence

Posted in Children, Family, Holidays, Serbia tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:48 am by Liliana

Source: http://www.knowledgerush.com/wiki_image/2/26/Criquet.1%28L%29.jpg

Busy lives

We live in a noisy world. Sounds of technology invade every corner of our consciousness.

I am a person who likes silence. Constant auditory stimulation makes me hyper and unable to concentrate.

When I think of calmness and quietude, I remember the summers of my early childhood, spent with my grandparents. I was born in 1959 and although I lived with my parents in the modern (and noisy) city of Belgrade, I spent summer holidays in a quiet village in the Serbian countryside.

No resident of Banostar owned a car at this time, so most of the noise came from people and animals. There were few television sets in the village, although radios were common. No one listened to radios all the time, though. There were special programs that we looked forward to, and listened to in the evenings while gathered around the big farm table.

I frequently accompanied my grandfather to his fields and orchards. While he did one task or another, I would sit quietly on a blanket in a shade of a tree, and play. I had few toys, so I played with anything that was available: corn husks became dolls with flowing long hair that needed to be braided and tended to; fruit, rocks, wood chips, leaves, everything was fair game.

The sounds I think of when I remember those games are the sounds of insects. Their busyness and deliberations filled every crevice of the world around me. The universe seemed to belong to these tiny creatures and I felt like an accidental visitor and observer. I quietly braided the hair of my corn husk as I listened to crickets, flies, mosquitoes, or bees. A large wasp buzzing around my ear sounded mightier than an airplane. All around me, lives were being led with drama and purpose. I bore witness.

Even now, while sitting in my garden arbor at the end of a hot summer day, when the glorious cacophony of the cricket’s wings takes over the evening, I am transformed by the invisible presence all around me.

I try to shut out the resonance of cars and trucks from the nearby highway, the buzzing of airplanes, the intonation of television voices, the battle reverberations of video games, the ringing of telephones.

All I hear is the song of the crickets.


  1. Dave Harrison said,

    That soitude of listening to the nature sounds around you and nothing else are a delightful rememberince of my childhood in Kentucky as well. I think that is why I refuse to weara hearing aid cause all the back ground noise I normally don’t hear drives me crazy when I have it in. I cannot imagine listening to all that 24 hours a day, 1 hour of that and I’m ready to run & hide.
    Thanks for the memories:)

  2. Bibi said,

    I agree about loving silence. One of the things I can’t stand is going for a cup of coffee or whatever on the terrace of an outdoor cafe and being blasted with music.

  3. Silence is probably what some may refer to as a ‘lost art,’ in the current form of the world. I look forward to a time when silence is better integrated into the everyday living in culture. 🙂

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    • Liliana said,

      Do you think there will ever be a time when silence returns into our lives? I am sad to think that it might be a lost art. The younger generations might not even know what is missing from their world. Best to you, Liliana

      • Jelena said,

        I NEED silence like I need sleep. Not too mych of it, of course, but I need it when I need it. As for the younger generation, it depends on the person, I think. My son the musician lives in a world of almost constant sound, but I also see that he loves to crash in a bit of silence on our couch from time to time… Do you think our need for silence increases as we get older? Or our appreciation/tolerance for it?

      • Liliana said,

        You are right, it depends on the person. But it also depends on experience. If one lives in the world of constant noise, how does one know what complete silence even feels like?
        Judging from my own needs, I would say that one appreciates silence even more as one gets older. I need the world to slow down in all kinds of ways. Hugs to you, girlfriend.

  4. Conner said,

    Hi Liliana,

    I just got back from a 10-day vacation at the seaside with my family and really enjoyed reading your back posts. It’s been wonderful ‘catching up’ and extending the state of relaxation I attained during the last week with the help of your inspirational posts. (Usually, reading emails and surfing the net has the opposite effect on me! 🙂 … )

    Your post on ‘silence’ resonated particularly loudly (!) with me as I am a Quaker, and it is largely the rich, sustaining quality of silent worship that attracted me to Quakers 15 years ago. (In addition to their strong belief in values such as pacifism, service, truthfulness and simplicity.)

    Once Meeting begins, even my children (13, 8 and 8), though they often protest at having to go to Quaker Meeting, end up relaxing and sitting very still for the 15 minutes expected of them. The time they were at their quietest was in early Spring when a window had been cracked open and a small bird was chirping away happily just outside; their faces lit up as they were transported by its song and their 15 minutes just flew by!

    Alas, as you say, these refreshing and life-affirming sounds are often drowned out by modern life. Camping trips, country walks and occasional moments of ‘intentional silence’ in the family circle (we occasionally hold mini-Quaker-Meetings in our living room) are simple ways of recapturing these moments.

    Thank you for your lovely blog!

    Best, Conner

    • Liliana said,

      Thanks Conner, for sharing your stories and experiences.

      It means a lot to me when people share thoughts and desires and yearnings for a simpler life.

      There is something about sitting still and feeling the intense presence of life that is like nothing else. I am sure your children will remember it forever, just like I do.

      Best to you!

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