Speech is silver, silence is golden…
I’m well settled into lockdown Britain now. Making the most of all this time spent in the house is easier than I had first imagined. For one, I have plenty of indoor applicable hobbies to keep me going. These include; writing (something I’m doing more and more); playing guitar; juggling; reading lots; and cooking.
Now, I am – as I’m sure dear reader, you are aware- allowed one hour of outdoor physical activity per day. This presents a problem for me, and obviously several many others. I’m not a jogger. I don’t do the gym (public park or otherwise). If I go for a bike ride then I go for a bike ride adventure -an hour really won’t cut it for me. Walking’s great, but again, one hour around the same park everyday, no thanks Mr Matt Hancock!
I’ve always been into sports, especially sports/pastimes that involve a clique, a culture, a gathering of like minded individuals who feed off each other’s displays of physical prowess, battles and victories. Before lockdown I’d be out at my local indoor climbing walls at least three times a week, and on my beloved skateboard busting up my local park on a regular basis. This has temporarily been taken away…
“Not to worry, just switch up your plans. Get a work-out routine rolling in the house, you’ll be fine” I told myself. Nope. There’s something strange about my household that I can’t put my finger on… It simply does not lend itself to physical activity -I’m certain that there are others in this same situation.
So, what to do? Well, like the rest of your body, your brain needs exercise too. Bring on the books then! Oh, but wait, the sun’s shining, the breeze is welcoming and there’s only so much reading one can do – sod it. So off I went, Sunday late evening, beer in the bag for the park bench on the way home, and some tunes in my lobes. Needless to say, I was not just the only person at the skatepark, I was also the only person sat on that particular park bench, slowly sipping a nice icey cold tin.
As I sat there, like some kind of Corona cast-off, left to my solitary devices, it really hit me how quiet it was. No sirens; no air traffic noise; no arguing addicts; and most notably, no commuter traffic. There was silence, sweet silence. I could hear the wildlife, the breeze in the trees. Hell, I could hear myself think!
This brings me to the third reason that I wish I had made it back to the Isle of Man before lockdown.
I remember being told in my youth, by a particularly good teacher at Murray’s Road Junior School, that “speech is silver, silence is golden”. Like many young people I immediately disagreed with my teacher on this. I wasn’t quite sure why I disagreed with this statement back in 1995 – I guess that it was just a natural reaction for a talkative kid. I still disagree, but for more concrete reasons now. Silence never changed anything… Many of the political and social rights with which we are currently blessed came about due to people using speech, not silence. And then there’s music, obviously. For those who do believe that silence is indeed golden, I have one word… SLAYER!
Silence is important though. Especially over here on big old Blighty where silence is as rare as roads without speed limits.
So as I sat, beer in hand, arse on a bench, drenched in a fleeting, but insightful silence, I thought about the Isle of Man. One can find silence on the rock with ease, and never before have I appreciated that fact more: now that I had inadvertently stumbled upon a brief slither of it on the Mothership.
I will be appreciating these brief slithers more now – when I can find them – and using them to help me relax and think. Again I’m left dripping green with envy at the thought of all you fortunate islanders, basking in quiet contemplation, enjoying uninterrupted views over the ocean, in the knowledge that a quick trip to the shop may well lead to some random, but friendly, social interactions with other island folk.