Silence in the Snug
It’s already December and the days are growing very short. One of the deep pleasures of living in this place is the long, quiet winter evenings when time seems to stretch thin. We haven’t had a television for many years now, so we often spend our time sitting in the snug, with the log burning stove ticking away, reading our books. The summer doesn’t seem to afford the same deep peace and quiet of the winter evenings, there is always something to be done around the smallholding, making us feel obliged to take advantage of the long days. But in winter, the animals are all tucked up early as darkness falls around 4 o’clock and the evening stretches pleasurably ahead.
I feel particularly aware of the silence of the evenings in the snug, although in truth there are many sounds, sleepy dogs breathing, logs crackling occasionally and the papery turn of the page of a book. I am reading a book about silence, so I’m in a very contemplative mood about it. I am reading this book slowly, relishing the chapters because it’s one of those I don’t want to reach the end of. It’s The Book of Silence by Sara Maitland. In it she explores the role of silence in our noisy lives, how we can tend to avoid silence, and how we often interpret silence as absence of noise, when infact silence can be very full indeed. She says,
‘Even as silence is undermined in so many ways in the contemporary world, there remain tiny puddles of it in most people’s lives, pauses in the stream of sound, which they value though do not usually call silence.’
So, I sit in the snug, knowing that I have come to see my life at The Lint Mill as just such a pause.