"In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence." ~ Robert LyndHave you ever been bombarded with sound from every direction.. phones ringing, the television going non-stop for hours, kitchen appliances whirring, even the sound of people talking? And have you noticed how many different warning beeps and buzzes there are in your house that constantly go off..... the refrigerator door is open too long, there is an error in the auto-program of the microwave, the oven has reached baking temperature, the washing machine has finished the cycle, someone has opened an outside door to the house, the coffee maker has finished brewing, the oven timer has one minute left in the baking time, the George Forman grill is at grilling temperature, the dishwasher is finished the cycle, someone has shut an outside door to the house, the microwave has finished heating your cup of coffee and wants you to take it out RIGHT NOW, the dryer has finished its cycle, the oven baking time is finished and that one slightly weak high pitched beeping sort of buzz that you look all over the place to find and never do... what IS that buzz? How on earth did we ever survive even a day before all these warning systems..... oh, yes.. microwaves didn't exist, we set separate mechanical timers for ovens that rang like bells, no one cared about the clothes washer and dryer times and simply listened for them to stop, coffee pots percolated and didn't drip-drop-steam-foam-or grind and no one really knew what the temperature of a fridge was without putting an actual thermometer in there... and I mean a real mercury thermometer.. not one of these digital things as they didn't exist either. We are not talking about the ear splitting, inner ear damaging noise of a rock concert... although they apparently had one on Saturday night at the high school football field that is about a mile and a half from our house as the crow flies and I could feel the thumping of the drums and hear the wailing of the voices inside the house... with the doors and windows shut tight. I can imagine what it must have been like in person, but this is not the noise of which I speak. This noise is simply the underlying current of sound that presses on us from every direction and for such endless periods of time that we tend to tune it out.....UNTIL IT STOPS. And when it does stop.... the residual hums and rings in your ears for minutes, perhaps hours.. in fact, it takes quite a while for you to realize that it is silent.
Is it mixing sensory perceptions to say that this bird in this setting "looks silent"? To me it does. It wasn't silent when I took the picture. I was in the sunroom and the fan was circulating and the air was running and the dog was sniffing all over the floor in hopes of finding a morsel of food. Outside, it was summer and the background noise of children laughing down the street, crickets chirping, lawn mowers running and even the wind blowing the wind chimes filled the air. But, the picture still "looks silent". If it were not for the green foliage of the sunflowers and the summer yellow mating color of the male goldfinch I would say this looked like a bird in winter and in my experience, the deepest silence comes at night... in the country... in winter with a blanket of white snow covering the ground. No one is moving or crunching in the snow. There is no wind. There is only sky and stars and the moon and the snow. All other silence seems relative.
(end of post)