Demelza is one of my favorite characters from a book. You can find her in Poldark by Winston Graham. She lived near the Cornwall coast in the late 18th century. She lived so close she could hear the waves breaking against the rocks and shore. What else would she have heard? Birds, the wind, Garrick barking, horse hooves, distant voices, Ross in the library, servants in the kitchen, her children? Certainly she didn’t live in a silent world but she also didn’t live in a world where she was constantly bombarded with artificially created sounds which we live with now.
I live alone. Until my divorce in January 2013, I had never lived alone. I had been alone for several days at a time but always knew someone would be returning. During that time I enjoyed the quiet. It was refreshing. Now, the silence is oppressive. I feel as thought I am in a room and the walls are closing in. My apartment is wound proofed well so except for the occasional thump from my upstairs neighbors, I don’t hear anything. I listen. I sit in the quiet and nothing. It’s too hot to open the windows and even if I did I would hear man-made sounds. So I keep the TV on if I am home. The sound fills up the space. I don’t feel so alone.
I don’t think we realize how much constant noise is in our lives until it is gone. And I don’t think we realize the importance of sounds whether they are nature’s music or man-made sound. a lot has been written about the effect sound can have on our spirit. I read that repeatedly listening to sad music can dampen your mood. And when non-communicating Alzheimer’s patients were given headphones and the tunes of their youth played, the awareness of their surroundings increased and their mood were improved.
I believe one reason Demelza was infused with a happy spirit was because she absorbed everything around her, the sounds and the sites. So in the spirit of living like Demelza, I am going to try to fill my empty air with sounds that make me happy whether that is music, an audio book, a nature CD or even my favorite TV show. And I am also going to take time to enjoy the peace and quiet I have been given at this time in my life.
I made a comment on another book review blog. Bookowly The blogger had reviewed a graphic novel that she had difficulty deciding if it was written for older teens or younger kids. She didn’t like the book despite all sorts of positive reviews on other sites. I responded that reviews are so misleading. I believe too many people are afraid to speak up and say they don’t like a book or movie if most of the reviews are positive. I have read too many bad books and seen too many bad movies after reading a host of views singing their praises.
Why are we so afraid to speak up and go against the grain? We live in a society where individualism is preached yet when it comes time to be an individual, people shy away. We do it all the time in all the aspects of our lives. We think as individuals but tend too many times to act as a group. When was the last time you disagreed with a group of friends? Not a one on one basis, but in a group?
I remember being with a group of women in my age group and they were discussing Hooters. Not a single woman had anything positive to say about the young women that worked there. They were busy passing judgment and talked as they knew these young women’s life situations. Now Hooters isn’t my choice of restaurants but I spoke up. I said that they were doing nothing illegal and didn’t we all trade on our looks from time to time in our lives? They berated me because the girls are so sexual. I can assure you that there was only one woman (devout Mormon) in our group who hadn’t at some time worn short shorts, tank tops and more sexual clothing when we were young. I stood my ground. I said they were judging young women who were doing the best they knew how to make a living. Maybe they were supporting a family, paying for school etc. We didn’t know. And if they didn’t like “breastraunts” then they should take action and create other opportunities for young women.
I created some enemies that evening. And it wasn’t too many years after that evening our group broke up. We had met the first Wednesday of the month for 13 years and it had taken me that long to realize I didn’t want to be in that mindset of women. So stop and think. Ask yourself if you always go along with the group, the majority opinion or do you really speak up for yourself.