Sometimes I wish I could find a space in the world — somewhere between this moment and the next, a place where the outside noise and distraction and the inside, my brain noise, cease.
You or I might have thought this yearning is new, brought on by the onslaught of media and technology. Yet, in reading a new book, Silence In the Age of Noise, the author Erling Kagge quotes a 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
When I am here in Maine—where it is currently a tundra-like -2 degrees!—it is the enormity, proximity, and beauty of the big starry sky and the undulating, mysterious ocean that lead me to a state of silence and hence, a state of joy and wonder.
a glimpse of sea smoke on the Penobscot Bay from my back porch
Kagge’s book, through a series of 33 brief observations and a scattering of mesmerizing photographs, reminds me that we can in fact create these moments of silence anywhere and anytime. Further, he reinforces the need we all have to experience and search for this silence.
This year has been one of chaos and noise at a level many of us have not ever experienced. If we are to preserve the kind of goodwill and civility that we presumably cherish, it will start from within us.
I do possess a general optimism and belief that kindness begets kindness, that compassion begets compassion, and this lovely little book can act as a way for us to begin the process of creating the space that allows kindness and compassion to flourish.
My wish for you in this new year is to find that space and silence that recreates a sense of joy.
See you in the store,
Roxanne J. Coady
P.S. In this our 28th year, we welcomed over 127,000 of you and almost 200 authors to the store!
Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your reading life.
P.P.S. To celebrate the new year, below you'll find one of my favorite poems, as well as a short video acknowledging the outgoing year.
A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for redbird to sing.