I sit quietly somewhere deep in the outback of New South Wales, Australia. The clear night sky twinkles above. I look up in awe at the Milky Way and far away galaxies, a sight I can barely describe, although I may try to one day.
The silence here in the desert is so deafening my ears are ringing. Isn’t that strange? We have become so used to the constant chaos and noise around us that it is almost uncomfortable when there is no sound at all. Perhaps my ears aren’t ringing at all, maybe they are just desperately crying out for a break!
I catch myself for a moment desperately searching for a sound, but there is nothing. Is it possible that I am sitting in the quietest natural place on earth?
As I enjoy this moment with the stars, I ponder on my day, one filled with long stretches of road between red earth, where now and then moments happened. I found it hard to describe the feeling I associated with these moments until now. They are what I have come to know as, the sound of silence. They are generally not seen and do not belong to us as onlookers, but they are very real.
A flat tyre in the middle of nowhere with not a car or soul in sight.
The last breath of a kangaroo hit by a car.
The Joey of that kangaroo standing over its mother.
The once-thriving indigenous community watching their river rise and flow only to watch it drain to the cotton farms and return to mud.
The tired owner of a busy roadhouse in the outback ending each day knowing he can’t get any workers to help him.
Within the space of my day, these are the sounds of silence that I felt compelled to share with you. If I had not travelled this long and dusty road, I would have been blind to these moments and had I not sat outside in the dead of silence under the dessert stars to ponder my day, these realisations and observations may never have been penned in my journal.
Amidst all the noise and distraction in the world right now, these silent moments happen and they are very much real. They remind me of a well-known philosophical thought experiment:
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
The above statement raises questions regarding observation and perception and today I have come to the conclusion that the answer is YES, and it is what I will forever refer to and acknowledged as the Sound of Silence.
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