I’ve been reading Dr. Norman Doidge’s book, The Healing Brain, not too much at each sitting (at breakfast) because I’ve been short of time. I enjoyed his book, The Brain That Changes Itself, and learned from it; in both books he refers to a noisy brain. I’m a lay person, not scientific, so I can’t give you facts about this noise that bobs around inside you. As I understand it, it’s like noise in your head that won’t turn off. You know when you hear a familiar song and then can’t get the tune out of your head for the rest of the day? - Like that, but more so because the traffic can get quite heavy: too many thoughts, too many stimuli. Anyway, i’s nice if you can tune it down a bit, or even turn it off for a while.
Sharon Butala’s book, The Perfection of the Morning (I think it was a GG winner), describes her exploration of primeval country in the southernmost part of Saskatchewan, where dinosaurs used to roam. There’s a dinosaur museum in East End, Saskatchewan, which is in the west end of the province, but at the eastern end of the Cypress Hills. Got that? So Butala reports that when she walked long enough in empty, empty land her inner dialogue turned off. I knew at once what she meant and I’m sure you do, too. It isn’t often you can achieve that. It happens when you learn to meditate, of course, but to have it granted by external circumstances is wondrous and rare.
I wrote Sharon after I read that book and sent her one of mine and we have been friends ever since, though we didn’t actually meet face to face (at a Writers’ Union meeting) for several years, and then again in East End, Saskatchewan when she was one of my recommenders for the Stegner Fellowship and helped me get there physically, too. (It’s pretty remote.) The fellowship award was a month in Stegner House in East End - to write - in silence. You can look it up, and me.
It’s silent here, where I am visiting for a couple of days. My bedroom window looks out on Lake Rosseau, past trees. The water is very still, the trees are still, and so am I. The loudest noise is the soft click of my computer keys as I write. My host and hostess are still asleep. As you know, I am a very early riser, often too early.
[Oh - noise just cut in on my reverie. It…was…the brief effort of the dehumidifier outside my door to deal periodically with the humidity in the lower level of this house. Stopped now, back to the computer click.]
I paused at the word reverie. I am not really lingering in a reverie, so I looked it up: reverie: a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream. I don’t think so. I’m not lost and this isn’t a daydream, it’s a blog. But here’s an interesting addendum: "ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from obsolete French reverie, from Old French reverie ‘rejoicing, revelry’, from rever ‘be delirious’, of unknown ultimate origin."
Interesting, indeed. Rejoice I like. But rever , delirious:: "in an acutely disturbed state of mind characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence”. No. I am not disturbed, not restless, not incoherent. No more than usual.
Just deliciously (not deliriously) silent.