Have you ever driven in a car without the radio playing? As in, in complete silence (well, save the whirring of the car motor, and the occasional honk)?
It’s eerie. Unnatural, almost.
The radio is always playing. There is a constant source of entertainment, usually in the form of music. When a bop hits the airwaves, the volume goes up and the car concert starts.
When the song changes to something less thrilling, or more annoying, or so highly repetitive because the radio has played 80 times a day for the past four years, the station itself changes. Scrolling the knob or hitting the preset buttons with rapid succession until a more pleasing option appears.
Sometimes, that more pleasing option does materialize; but other times, it doesn’t.
Sometimes, it would appear that every single radio station has decided to take an eight-minute commercial break at the exact same time. And if one station is playing any music, it often seems to be playing a song akin to nails on a chalkboard.
When this happens, I often turn the volume down and wait it out, scanning through the stations every few minutes to see if I can find any enjoyable music again.
In the mornings, there is rarely music playing at all because, ya know, morning talk shows. There is one that I find mildly entertaining on occasion. I’ll listen to it when the other morning radio shows are on, or when the other stations are, again, playing commercials.
More often than not, I’m not actually listening to something (music or otherwise) that really excites me. Most of my car time is spent waiting for something to turn on that makes me want to crank the volume up to eleven and roll the windows all the way down so I can belt to my heart’s content and feel the breeze of freedom whipping through my hair – waiting for those moments that take me out of my head and make me forget where I’m going because the moment is so deliciously full and radiant.
They don’t happen often. Obviously.
Sometimes I like to think I’m bypassing the shenanigans of radio entertainment by turning it off and cranking up Spotify on my phone. Or by calling someone I’ve been meaning to talk to about something. Or by talking with the other person/people in the car with me. Or by talking to myself and having those fake arguments that are reserved for showers and solo car rides.
Nothing is ever silent.
Silence is uncomfortable.
But silence is what showed me just how full and green the trees are the line one of the roads I take home every day from work.
Silence revealed a driveway on the left that leads to an old red barn I pass on that same road.
It showed me the two bunnies chasing each other in play in the neighbors’ yard, and one of the bunnies later sitting silently in a staredown with my leashed cat.
It showed me the moon that is almost exactly cut in half.
And the birds that are still chirping past sunset.
The way my bedroom fills with light on a sunny summer morning.
The pair of deer that walked through the cul de sac and right into the neighbor’s yard.
And the many more fireflies that are out tonight than I remember seeing in years.
Silence feels unnatural when I’m so used to sound. Perhaps I should practice turning the radio off more often.
And perhaps, by learning to sit in the silence, the moment of joyous music will feel that much sweeter and fuller.
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