I have been silent this past week. But that doesn’t mean that nothing is going on in my world! On the contrary, it has been a rather hectic and unsettled week. Too unsettled to write about until now—that is, on this page. I did a bit of writing and shared some pictures with my Facebook family, and I am grateful for their support.
You see, a week ago, the very first home I ever lived in—the place where all my Christmas memories began and the inspiration for my first-ever blog post—was destroyed in a three-alarm fire. This loss was like losing a loved one, and I really had to grieve a little bit.
It was bad enough seeing photos of the aftermath of the fire on Facebook. But on Sunday, my brother shared with me some real-time video and photos of the actual fire, which had been sent to him by a fireman friend who was on the scene. That was really hard to take, and I had to turn away, with tears in my eyes. Never mind that I still have pictures and memories of the life I lived there. Just knowing that a piece of me is gone hurts.
Worse than the personal loss is the loss of a historic Baltimore building. Before it was an apartment building, it was a Catholic convent and, at some point, a Catholic orphanage. My mother told me the other day that, in making the conversion from convent to apartment building, back in the 1930s, there was a 99-year lease agreement with the Church and that it was never supposed to be sold—although in fact, it has changed hands over the years.
It’s been 56 years since I lived in that apartment building. But it was somehow reassuring to know that the building still stood. And I would pass by it almost every week, while driving my Mom to and from church. Every time I passed it, I would think about taking a “now” photo of it, to complement all the “then” photos in my family’s albums. But I never took the time.
I guess I am now in the “acceptance” phase of grief over my first home. This is where the “Silence Is Golden” part of today’s post title fits. I needed quiet time to reflect on and make peace with my loss.
It has taken me most of my life to appreciate and enjoy silence. For all of my childhood and most of my adulthood, I feared silence. I suppose it was because, without noise to distract me, I had to look inward. And I wasn’t very comfortable with what I saw. So I would always have sound—either music playing on the stereo, or the television or radio blaring—and I could only fall asleep at night to these sounds.
About 12 years ago, I decided it was time to embrace silence. It took awhile to wean myself from noise, but I am now at the point where I often prefer silence to noise. Noise is an unwanted distraction from looking inward. I am finally at home with my self, and I need silence to think clearly. Most of the time.
Silence can also lull you into forgetfulness. As I discovered yesterday morning as I was transferring three new sky photos from my phone camera to my computer. I had taken an exquisite, perfectly composed sunset photo, and I was planning to use it as the featured image for this post.
But instead of clicking “send,” I absent-mindedly clicked “erase,” and I do not have reliable backup for my phone camera photos.
To be fair to my “self,” a few minutes before I killed my best shot, I’d just deleted several older photos to restore enough phone memory to send the new ones to my computer. But I had also just sent photos 1 and 2 successfully! So why on earth did I hit “erase” instead of “send”?
Perhaps to remind me that even though silence is golden, haste still makes waste. Two lessons I learned when I was that little girl celebrating Christmas in an apartment that no longer exists, except in my memories.