These are crazy, uncertain times. There is so much to digest, navigate through and understand that it could make the most balanced of us start to wobble. It’s funny because there are so many times in our lives when we wish we could have a break. We yearn for a few quiet moments or take vacations to quiet places because that is where we can relax and turn off. Chances are that none of us ever even considered the possibility that we would all suddenly find ourselves in a very quiet world that has forced us into silence.
The sporadic lockdowns during the pandemic have taken their toll on even the heartiest of us. While we saw images of makeshift hospitals and people in masks, we also noticed that there was no yeast in the supermarket. Everyone was home filling their kitchens with the smell of fresh-baked bread or enjoying homemade pizza dough. We saw images of people exercising on their balconies and musicians, starved for the reverb they get from their audiences, hold private concerts in their gardens – at a distance, of course.
These newfound hours of stillness were not a blessing to everyone. Many people, being the social animals that they are, craved the company of friends, family and the throng in the dance clubs. For some people silence is a comfortable, welcome place. For others it is a trial by fire. For some of us, it is both.
The silence turned into a place where people started talking loud. They created and experimented with textures, food, sound, color, and taste. They adjusted to a new reality of having meetings online, having spare time to themselves that they would otherwise spend on commuting to work. They purchased exercise equipment and adopted pets. They became part-time teachers and caregivers. Some of them became protesters. Some of them found that home was not such a bad place to be and became designers. Some of them couldn’t wait to get back to the office. Some of them learned to play instruments and some picked up instruments that they hadn’t played in years. Some of them began to create in ways they had never done before.
Some of them are musicians. For a musician, not knowing when or even if there will ever be another chance to play for people is difficult to say the least. There is existential angst – financially and otherwise – that would make it easy to fall into desperation. Nonetheless, even though the silence has been deafening on some days, we can also see it as a gift. It is a slowing down place. A place to find a voice. A place to write songs that will speak to everyone listening to the silence. And to everyone else who’s looking for a way to talk loud.
People say that there is only so much that a person can change. Accepting that fact is difficult because we want to believe that we are in control of much more than we really are. Being body slammed into a world where masks cover people’s smiles and where distance and silence are the norm is difficult, but it can also be a chance. What if we take it as a chance to really get to know ourselves? To find out how much we can accept? Could it be a chance to learn? Could it be a chance to talk loud in the silence?