When I first moved here all those years ago it was the stillness which washed over me and the peacefulness of my surroundings that drew me here. Then, as now, I simply stand outside my small front door and consciously absorb the peace, looking up into the sky at the birds.
The swallows are still here, swooping down collecting their last meal of midges before sunset.
Will they still be here tomorrow? Ah’ who knows.
At the time I arrived here there was no phone, no computer and no TV, still no TV.
My only entertainment was a Bush music centre which connected me to the events going on in the world. At other times I was able to play my CD’s one in particular is still a favourite, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 Pastoral.
When I first played the piece the cattle in the field next to me, galloped up to the fence and stood listening to the music. Seemingly entranced, they stayed until the end then walked away.
During the times of not working on the cottage I would read what ever books my friends would loan me. One kind friend was a retired missionary priest who had spent most of his working life in Kenya. Like me he was an avid reader, unlike me he was an Irish Scholar having been educated at Blackrock College, Dublin. He encouraged me to use and adopt the Irish-English idiom and from him came the loan of books about the history of Ireland. I learnt about Ireland’s past from the late 1800’s to the founding of the State and on to 1948.
My other friends supplied me with lighter reading matter such as the books of Walter Macken whose work I devoured.
On nights when I was not reading I would in sit in silence alongside the stove, sometimes writing letters or poetry or even planning the next days work. It was during these times of inactivity that I would hear the sound of the electric meter humming away to it’s self. It still makes a hum and a whirr which ultimately is the sound of my money burning away.
Several years later I had the phone installed and then came my first proper computer, a PC. Proper because I had a very early one, a Commodore or a Sinclair, in the late 1970’s and nothing at all like the one that I sit at today.
I became aware of a constant buzzing sound. I would go to bed believing that this sound had got into my memory somehow, that it wasn’t real just a memory of the PC noise.
Later I realised that I heard the buzzing on the days when the computer hadn’t been used. Perhaps it was something else?
Finally I understood that it was tinnitus and I have probably had it for years.
I spoke to a doctor friend of mine and asked if there was a cure for it that he could recommend. He told me that he had it too and if I stumbled upon a cure to please tell him!
That leads me back to the title of this blog ‘No Silence’ and yet strangely beyond the buzzing there is silence.