There’s a spot, just off the side of the walking track that runs up through Cataract Gorge here in Launceston.
It’s one of my favourite spots. You climb a few steps up off the walking path, into a space that is dark, and sheltered, mysterious and quiet.
There in the silence there is rest, peace, freedom.
And marvellous carved and polished granite artworks. Each stone has one of two words.
And if you sit there a while, it becomes possible to do just that, listen to the silence.
I love going there, and rarely miss a chance to step off the path into this place of stillness.
Silence, I think, is one of our most under-rated resources. In a world that is constantly noisy, and in which data streams to us from every imaginable source almost without pause, silence is rare and precious.
Maybe its just the introvert talking, but today I crave silence. Stillness.
But, of course, the reverse is true. There are moments when silence is destructive. When injustice is being done, silence is complicit. When harsh words are spoken, silence can be agreement.
And so, while it is right for us to let silence do the heavy lifting (to unashamedly use the words of Susan Scott), there are moments when we have to shout loudly, to refuse to go gently into the night (to yet again use someone else’s words).
The trick then, has to be finding the right moment. Finding the time when silence is golden, when silence transforms, renews and, yes, challenges.
But to be wide open to the times when silence is the last thing that’s required. When it is exactly the right moment to call our society, our leaders to account, to speak truth to power.
Let silence do the heavy lifting, but speak clearly when it’s important. That’s what I’m learning this week.