Silence and I, A quiet argument.

Do you know what? I haven’t heard silence in over a year. I don’t mean quiet, and I don’t mean solace, I mean pure silence, only punctuated by the world. The city offers no such place – I will always hear a noise, a car, a bus, a part of my flat expanding… but to go somewhere that there is nothing but the world ticking along, getting things done, is my all time favourite thing; simply, no noise.

This can be found easily in Scotland, all you need to do is drive a couple of hours to a car park, then walk a couple of miles into the hills, and then sit. The silence is brilliant, sharp, clean and invigorating. It is cleansing. It is… perfect.

One time, sitting on a hill with my back pack by my side, I was approached by a man with a walking stick. I was approximately 4 miles in either direction from a path so to be found was pretty startling. He waved and said Hello, in a way not unlike a priest would in a hushed tone in a church, speaking softly but loudly enough and with respect. I said Hello back, and he sat beside me.

Don’t you love the silence?
Yeah, I was just thinking that very thing.
I find that this is where I can think. Sometimes it is the only place I know that I can think without an interruption.
I agree with you, I said. I find that sitting here allows me to romanticise the history that these places have seen.
That’s true too, he agreed.

He then got up, looked at me, shook my hand and nodded, and walked off. I have always wondered about that man. I wonder how he happened upon me, how he knew what to say to me and also why I was not wary of a man, a total stranger, appearing to me on the hill and talking to me. The thing is that I understand now why he was able to talk to me – we were in the same place, geographically, mentally and spiritually. We both obviously feel at home in the silence of a hill and that exchange could take place at any time of the day, at any time period of our history. Maybe we had met in previous lives at that same point. Maybe he is me, grown-up, and I will one day be walking that path and see my youthful self. Maybe, just maybe, he was being civilised in a time where I think civility is all but lost.

I am not saying Aberdeen is a busy city, nor is it a loud place, but there is times when I just wish I could grab 5 minutes back on that hill to collect my thoughts. Though I am thinking that maybe we need the noise to understand the silence.