August 4, 2010

Peace & Quiet

"Silence strengthens our powers of attention...  and helps our brains grow." 
George Prochnik, author of In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise. 

After returning home from nine days in remote northern Ontario, without even the most distant traffic noise, no electricity, no hum or white noise of fans or refrigerators running, nine really enjoyable days of back to basics family togetherness -  I've been thinking a lot about the silence, being unconnected, no phones ringing, just the sound of the many loons in the far north & the lake's waves lapping onto shore.  
The less connected we are to gadgets & devices, the more connected we are to what's around us, and to eachother.

Still adjusting back to modern civilization and the noise of phones ringing,  I happened to read the above quote today.

It instantly struck a chord in me, ringing true to our fresh-on-the-mind appreciation for getting away from the excess "noise" in life.
But it also made me think of our home environment, and our kids' growing brains.

With a family of seven, our home can be a fairly noisy place some of the time.   But we don't surround ourselves with a lot of white noise.   In fact it's very minimal.
We have a TV that gets no signal, it's turned on to watch an occasional video, sometimes going weeks to months at a time between uses.    
I've become really sensitive to visiting places where TVs are running all the time, causing background noise & distraction.   I can't tell you how much I love life without it.
I love reading, typing, working or creating, & being able to think clearly in the quiet.  My senses alert to frogs singing, or birds chirping, or the coyotes yip-yiping.
In all honesty, I enjoy listening to music sometimes too, (hence the playlist on my blog) and I think that the stimulation of music can also help your brain to grow.  
But most of the time - I like to hear what can be found in the silence.  I do believe that it allows room for your thoughts & creativity to expand.

I see in Johnathan what a sharp sense of observation he has.  He has amazing powers of attention.  Johnathan hears the first frog to chirp after the long winter.   He spots the smallest critters in the woods.  He sees the insects & bugs that most wouldn't notice.  He hears small sounds, a bird that sounds different from the others.
He's tuned in to what's around him.   I love it.
And I don't think he'd have the opportunity to have tuned in the way he has, with all kinds of extra gadgets running & noises washing out the sounds of life & nature. 

I'm thankful for the the environment our home, inside & out, provides for our kids to grow & learn.  Even when it's filled with the sounds of the seven of us, to be tuned in and able to hear & pay attention to eachother is something so important.  

Powering up by powering down, strengthening our senses by simplfying our surroundings.
Peace & quiet, helping our brains grow... It's all good.

{There go those coyotes, yipping just now.} 


  1. those 2 images are really great! love the last one.

  2. Absolutely beautiful 'wildly simple' reflection for me this morning. Sometimes I pick a blog and browse through read, get to know, enjoy, reflect. I have learned and felt such peacefulness from my visit this morning . . . I have enjoyed your vintage finds, addition building, finding the family love dog, Christmas letter 2013, met the family and more . . . all because I was drawn in with vanilla milk.

    It wasn't until this morning that I figured out that you live in Minnesota. I have some history there. My brother built a cabin on Hill Lake many years ago and my husband and I helped in the building. Plus, one of my dear high school friends lives in White Bear Lake, summers at her family place near Park Ridge where I frequented as a young girl and

  3. made a reunion visit there a few years ago. Living in central Iowa we often made trips to further nothing into Minnesota to fish Walleye and Bass. Memories surround me.

    Hopefully this comment will reach you. I enjoy you Amanda. Raising your family in the way you are will be a gift that will live forever . . .
    Love, Lynne, Irish Garden House