Silence By Degrees

Silence By Degrees

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Today is cold and sunny. There is a snow storm on the way, lots of snow the weather people say. Winter isn’t done with us yet.

It is a quiet weekend here at Mist Cottage. A little bit of baking going on, a little bit of food preparation for next week, using the off-peak hydro prices by cooking ingredients. Our wedding anniversary is coming up next week, and we are celebrating with a homemade pizza, and a movie. I have my menu carefully planned for that day, so that I can afford to eat the sodium in the bacon bits we Attila cooked today. Eating out is out of the question.

I chatted with my Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl this afternoon, on FaceTime. My Mom looks so beautiful these days! She is bright eyed and rosy cheeked, her hair framing her face perfectly. Her recovery from her health issue is amazing. My Sister-The-Middle-Girl is looking quite beautiful these days too. Life must be agreeing with them!

Last week I chatted with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl over FaceTime, which was lovely. She is renovating her kitchen, a very big job. She and Beau Bob have gutted the kitchen, the electricians are still finishing up their part of the renovation, and the drywalling has been started this weekend. By the time we get there for a visit again, it will be finished. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Attila and I are not planning projects this summer. He will be touching up the paint on the house siding, putting in a larger garden, installing the cap on the basement waterproofing membrane, and finishing off the bathroom drywall. I am thinking about staining the exterior concrete walls of our basement, which would take me all summer. In a few weeks we will be venturing out into the yard with an eye to spring cleanup, but we have to wait out this coming snow storm first.

My crochet hooks should arrive in the next two weeks, I will be starting to watch for them next week. Yesterday morning’s second attempt at the single crochet stitch was more successful and I can see that I am going to have fun with it, once I get used to it. Now my thoughts are wandering to a suitable first project, and I have decided on a washcloth, a very simple washcloth. I like like the idea of functional creations, and eventually I would like to make soft fluffy washcloths. My first one will be made with this $1.00 ball of yarn, and my $1.00 crochet hook. Soon enough though, my new crochet hooks will arrive, and I will begin to cast my eye towards other balls of wool.

I have not been going out for walks, it is just too cold for my arthritic knee. I am loath to do any further damage to the knee, as each time it goes on me, it will not regain the functionality I have. I will lose mobility by increments, so I am being very careful not experience any incremental episodes. I have my fingers crossed that by next week the big snowfall we are expecting will have melted, and the temperature will rise above freezing during the day, so that I can begin to venture forth.

We are enjoying the coziness of Mist Cottage during this cold snap, the thermostat continues to charm us!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Another cold morning, with a major snow storm on the way tonight. Again I am staying indoors, not risking injury to my knee. The inactivity of winter has resulted in a moderate rise in my blood pressure levels, or so I surmise the cause. I am anxious now for the milder weather and the disappearance of snow and ice. It is a time for patience! Next month I am to go in for further testing for my high blood pressure, and afterwards I have an appointment with a cardiologist. At this point I am wondering if another type of medication might help, but that is something to discuss with the cardiologist. With my anaphylaxis, my options are limited as to safe medications.

This morning I have taken an internal walk down memory lane. Joan Lansberry posted a link to a BBC video of desert sounds. I closed my eyes and listened, the sounds, and the vibrations of the sounds from the computer provided me with a pleasant physical experience. I could not find the actual video to share here, but I did find a series of BBC video soundscapes, mostly of human activity, but some of nature’s activity.

We lived deep in a the Ontario bush for about a decade, we had only two neighbours within sight, who as “snowbirds” were often south during the winter. The noise was constant, snowmobiles, ATVs, private planes, speeding sports cars, huge motor boats, and transport trucks on the highways miles and miles away. These sounds became the white noise in our lives, we were rarely conscious of it. We could hear nature, but not without the steady hum, and sometimes din, of modern human activity. However, I considered it a paradise of silence compared to living in a small urban area.

Then I spent a week 60 miles north of Longlac. It was an education. There were no human sounds, not a plane, not a hint of a motor of any kind in the distance, the only tones and notes were created by non-human activity. The “silence” was striking, deeply unnerving. After 24 hours it caught me, and the inner calm that descended is like no other I have ever experienced. This was a rare and precious experience, which resulted from a one of a kind circumstance, and it is unlikely I will ever have the experience again. It would not be achievable for most people on planet earth. I am grateful to have encountered it.

P.S. I found downtown Toronto a close second to this experience. Noise there was constant, and like the wind, it blew a melody of activity that transcended individual sounds. Downtown Toronto was, for me, akin to visiting humans in the wild.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 12 March 2017
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -9.7°C
Dew point: -20.4°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: WNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 24 km


“I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”
Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931


  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Had to chuckle at your long list that you don’t have for summer projects. 😉 Over here, work is still being done on the new office. Yesterday, DH placed the molding aound the closet door. It will need some planing for it to be flush. Next will be the floor molding, hopefully next weekend.

    Our snow is just beginning, here. Fortunately, it looks like the snow has been downgraded. Maybe only 5 inches of snow through Tuesday, they’re saying now. But then it seems to be starting early, so we’ll see.

  2. I grew up with that kind of silence, in Northern Alberta on a homestead. We were miles from the nearest farm, and vehicles rarely passed our house. There were 7 of us, but we longed for contact outside of our family.We did go to school (walking one and a half miles)but that was a brief respite from the isolation. It wasn’t until we went to high school that we learned to ‘read’ other people. I’m not sure the silence served us well!

  3. Teri, yes, I guess you are correct, it is a long list that we don’t have for summer projects,:)

    It sounds like you are down to the “fiddley bits” in your office renovation, congratulations.

    It isn’t snowing here yet, but the cloud cover is intensifying. we are only supposed to get up to 4 inches of snow, which isn’t too bad, and it should be gone by next week in my estimation, if not sooner. Hoepfully this snow storm will be a non-event.

  4. That is interesting Kate! I wonder what that would be like, finding silent places noisy! I have tinnitus, but I don’t think that is what you are talking about. There are times when I hear beautiful distant music playing, the music does not exist, I’ve checked it out with several friends on several occasions, maybe that is closer to what you are describing. This article is interesting:

  5. Diane, spending a week in a unique situation, then returning to a different way of life is certainly not the same as growing up with the silence. Goodness, I can’t imagine it really.

    I too grew up in an isolated situation, but close to the people that we did not interact with. There was a lot of noise around us, so that we were always aware of the world beyond the borders of family.
    I do relate to your experience of learning late to “read” other people! Myself and my siblings were accustomed to dealing with the dynamic of our family, and not the mysteries of the broader social context. I was an avid reader from a young age, reading authors like Dickens in the seventh grade, and from my reading I had expectations of what the world must be like. It was quite a shock to find that the authors of books did not represent the general level of intelligence and integrity of the rest of the population! That revelation was disappointing, and endlessly interesting.

    Silence and isolation is quite a combination!

  6. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Thanks for the link on tinnitus, Maggie. I also suffer from this, though fortunately it’s at a level where I can usually ignore it.

    “It was quite a shock to find that the author’s of books did not represent the general level of intelligence and integrity of the rest of the population!” Disheartening would be more the word I’d use. *sigh*

  7. One of the shocking disappointments of my childhood was realizing, as a teenager, that adults didn’t always behave like adults. (In relation to your remarks about the general population.)

    The sound I hear when otherwise there is silence is akin to the buzzing of insects in a forest. But it is there winter and summer if I pay attention. If it’s tinnitus, it’s not the kind that is bothersome. I’ve always thought it was my own body at work.

    Thanks for the article link! -Kate

  8. Kate, that is a disappointment! I remember my first year of teaching, a professional development day, and the other two teachers in my team teaching classroom goofed off for most of the day. I was disgusted! I was only 21 at the time, and still held the admiration for teachers I had learned in knowing my Granny, Great Aunts, Auntie, who were teachers, and even my Mom, and my Sister-The-Oldest-Girl who were trained as teachers but followed other paths of employment.

    The sounds you hear sound wonderful! I’d put my money on you being right about the sounds being your own body at work.

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