In the sacred silence of the night, I wake to no sound or alarm but simply wake after a few hours of sleep. This has been my pattern for years. I have come to love and depend on these hours before the dawn. There is a peaceful sense of presence in the silent hours when the house is still and the world is asleep. So, I rise from my bed and go quietly to the kitchen, brew a cup of coffee, and sit at the kitchen table under one bare light, or in the darkness, listening.
When the weather is warm, I open a window and listen to the sound of crickets and frogs, or maybe a wind through the trees. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes coyotes howl at a freight train passing in the distance, then the stillness returns; just frogs and crickets again. In winter the silence is deeper. When I am brave, I open the window to hear the sharp rattling of icy twigs on bare, frozen trees, or the complete silence of a world adrift in snow.
These hours have become the foundation of my days and the promise each night as I drift off to sleep. The silent hours are a gift. Soon enough the dawn comes and life gets on its busy way.
We often overlook the stillness resting beneath motion and the silence between sounds, forgetting reality is created from silence.
“Everything has meaning, dire meanings, in the silence and stillness. And one can easily lose the meaning of life in blindly following the habits of daily life. One has to start over and receive (in meekness) a new awareness of work, time, prayer, relationships, and self. A new tempo. And what I do not have I must pray for and wait for.” – Thomas Merton