Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

Cultivating the Silence


I keep in mind a belief . . . : who knows a word is girded round with silence finds a way to realms. – Lia Purpura

Above me, the metal roof sings with rain, the not-quite-beat of spring dancing.  The coffee pot ticks that tiny click, I’m on. I’m on. Upstairs, Meander has gone back to bed – her needs satiated, her head (I’m sure) on my pillow.  6058769192

I have left email unchecked and social media unopened for just this moment of silence.  This lack of sound that assaults the mind, as I described it years ago.

Now, Emily sings out from the living room, her voice a tiny scale of mew.

I am reminded of the rock on which Madeline L’Engle lay on her summers at the farm. I have been searching for this rock for years, a decade, two. It’s the rural girl’s version of a room of my own although I, like Anne Lamott, also crave a door with an office.  A space where duties and obligations are pushed aside, where the wanderings of the mind stream like the creeks that gird this farm.

Just now, the silence is so tenable here that I can feel it, an angora kiss just inside my ear.

I have to work at sitting still in this place. I have to cultivate this silence. Already, the numbered lists of things that could be done nibble at the edge. I am learning to draw my knee up to my chin and kick full-footed, to let them spin away. A sheet of paper. A pen. A few words to remember later. Those things will be there when I let the silence fade.

In the pump house, a splinterish, wooden handle is attached to a metal cultivator, a tiny rake-like hoe that is perfect for digging up the tiny roots that unfurl beneath my radishes. Two tines, fifteen minutes – the whole 150 square feet of my garden is focused again on growing food again.

15 minutes. A candle. Natalie Goldberg. Lia Purpura. I am focused again, too.

I revel here. A cardinal calls two tones again and again, her voice fading back over my left shoulder. “Listen.” “Listen.” Listen.

Where and when do you cultivate silence in your life?

Be Sociable, Share!

AndiLit in your Inbox

Author: Andi

I am a writer, editor, and writing teacher whose most recent book, The Slaves Have Names, tells the story of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised. When I'm not working, my husband and I are working to make our small farm - God's Whisper Farm - a retreat here at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Brock

    I find my time late at night. Mornings are crazy here. GREAT post you have a way of expressing you thoughts and making the reader feel like they are sitting in the room with you!!

  • LarryTheDeuce

    I get up early just to hear a few moments of silence.
    LarryTheDeuce recently posted…From The Archives: Man Bags, Gym Bags, Backpacks and PursesMy Profile

No Notify!