Off the Wall, April 28,

Someone once told me that white is the fullness of color and black is the absence of it? Sorry to tip someone’s, boat (a Peeveeism), but that just ain’t so.

According to Webster-dicitonary.org, white is defined as “reflecting to the eye all the rays of the spectrum combined; not tinted with any of the proper colors or their mixtures.”

So, in retrospect, black is “reflecting to the eye none of the rays of the spectrum combined; not tinted with any of the proper colors or their mixtures.”

As a result, when I hear or see the word ‘none,’ what follows is the fact of ‘the essence of absence.’

If I owned a bottling company, I’d get my employees on it right now. I’d tell them to make out a fancy label, print out the words mentioned above, cap cute little bottles and sell them at some ridiculous price.

But that’s not what I really intended to write about today. I’d rather concentrate on the fact of nothingness, absence of anything, or better yet put, silence.

Oh what a wonderful sound…

It is my opinion people today always have to have some kind of noise flowing through their eardrums to make them happy. Otherwise, they may think they might go nuts.

Why do people assume vibrations have to fill their lives constantly, when silence would be far more beneficial?

Where can one find absence of sound? As interesting as that question is, think about it for a moment.

It took me some time to locate it. I did it, I found it, and I love that absence of sound. Believe or not, I didn’t even have to leave my house. The first place is where I once bedded down, but had to move because of my health – the attic. I love that place. Once upon a time, I had a bedroom built there with fancy shelving, an office and a place I could have remodeled to make into a living room, but never quite got that far. Building furniture for that room would have taken me forever. There was no way of getting any store-bought stuff up there, that’s for sure.

Yes, I did get it carpeted. A vacuum cleaner was purchased just for that area. I didn’t use it that much. It would have erased the silence. I was there to enjoy the sounds of nothing.

Anyway, I’m getting off track.

The other place was my basement, soundless at best. Wonderful…

I was on retreat one weekend, benefiting by every word that was spoken. The speaker stated, “Now, go into the chapel, and you can listen to Jesus speak to you. He has something He wants you to know.”

Grabbing my coat, I headed to the room on the other side of those large swinging doors. When I got there, a man was playing a keyboard and singing. Thinking he was winding up his performance, I went in and sat down. He was still pounding those keys one hour later. I wasn’t told Jesus would be playing a keyboard, so I assumed that was not He. Not having any silence to listen to Him, I left, as did a couple of my friends.

Nature lovers will tell me they love to hike or walk in the woods because of that valuable nothingness sound. But is there real absence of it?

I’ll agree, there is a certain quality to the great outdoors. Is there total silence? The answer – yes and no. That “no” answer, has validity, as I, an avid outdoorsman, will state.

Being in woods is heavenly, but it doesn’t come without sound. Granted, there are no noisy motorcycles, cars or radios blaring. Little babies aren’t crying, women yelling at men or kids skateboarding. There are different noises that one tunes out, such as birds tweeting, squirrels scampering up trees or limbs brushing against others as the wind forces the leaves and bark against the surfaces of growths next to them.

Being on top of a mountain, at the end of path, gives one time to connect to silence if only in the way he searches it to be (another Peeveeism).

I was kneeling next to a pew one Sunday, beginning to say my prayers, when I heard voices coming from every direction. This one particular time I couldn’t block them out. So, I decided to pray another way. I spoke them out loud, “Jesus, I know you’ll pass these on to God. Could you please tell him…?’’

- Paul J. Volkmann
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