My alarm is currently set up to ring at 4.45am. Not because I need to, I’m a freelancer and I work from home so there’s no reason to wake up that early, nor because I particularly enjoy being awake before the sun rises. It is because even though I live in a very small place, that’s one of the few moments of the day when there’s real silence.
Silence is an under appreciated component of life. And I’m not only talking about silence in the traditional sense. I’m talking about being away from the noise of life in general. All the pings, and dings of modern technology. All the people to stay in contact with, all the new podcasts to listen to, all the new tv series to binge watch. Also all the promotions and sales and newsletters and all the other people around you living their lives.
Now, more than ever, we passively participate in other people’s lives by looking at what they share, reading what they write, listening to what they say. And we also read news, we listen to news, we watch news. We know about places, and stories, and people, and events, and tragedies and all sorts of other stuff and it’s not surprising that we no longer have time to listen to ourselves. Because for that, we need silence. I need it and you probably need it as well.
And that’s why my alarm will sound again at 4.45am tomorrow morning, to drink my coffee in solitude while listening to the silence and watching the sun rising.