This is one of those rare days where all is quiet in my home in Durham. All I hear is a slight sound of traffic in the far-off distance and the occasional gust of wind outside my living room window. If my life were a song score, this moment would be an eighth rest with a fermata over it.
My cat is curled up in a loosely wound package of fur beside me. Over the past year I discovered that he has become completely deaf, a result, I suppose, of advanced age. Sometimes I envy him. Although my livelihood depends on hearing, my spirit can only be sustained long-term by having an abundance of moments like I am experiencing now...that is, moments of nourishing quietness. It's the only way I feel completely at peace, and it is the only way I can find the key to unlock what is deep inside me. My most authentic music comes from this place, no matter whether the music is light and lively or slow and expressive.
It is such a challenge for me to disconnect from the noise of the world or the distraction of impulses to check the alerts from my iPhone. I am sure it is the same for everyone who is a musician or anyone who creates artistic things. We are assaulted at every angle by noise. Even if external noise is momentarily muted (as it is this morning), there are always voices or thoughts inside which seek to sabotage our creative efforts. The moment we get a nugget of gold from our muse, we scarcely get very far before the critic inside us starts to edit the life out of our inspiration.
Still, I am so grateful for this quiet moment now. I will treasure it and feast on it to sustain me until the next one comes along. I have noticed though, that if I take more time to allow the quiet to enter in, even if the outside is noisy, the inner critics start to tire themselves out from all their yammering. And then with some good earplugs or headphones connected to my Roland, I can start to communicate with my muse once again. As this happens, I know one thing for sure...my cat will jump up, curl himself onto my lap and enjoy all of this in his own silent, peaceful world.