Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent stars

How silent to me, yet heard by the bee

 

Borage is the silent star of my garden. Silent to me, but a siren song to the bee. How  differently we hear silence.

“How can one who does not hear a sound contrast noise with silence? Most people use their ears so constantly, they do not realize that the skin of our bodies is so sensitive that we perceive countless vibrations in the air and in objects we touch. For instance, I am extremely susceptible to the noises of machinery, whistles and the irritating jar of multitudes out of step. In the peace of my little garden I usually can escape from disturbing vibrations, but at present I am greatly annoyed by the metal hammers pounding on the new subway that is being constructed through Forest Hills.”

from The Beauty of Silence (1935) by Helen Keller

PS I will be silent again until Monday. Thank you for being with me on my Quest.

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57 thoughts on “Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent stars

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Last night, I came across these words in The Little White Horse ” and the cod’s head had the sort of smell that one could almost hear”. It made me laugh out loud. I thought you might appreciate yet another way of hearing.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Was that salt cod? I only know fresh blue cod and red cod. But, yes, it’s a wonderful description. The cod head was a gift for Zachariah, the cat, a super intelligent cat who can write hieroglyphics with his tail!

  1. Liz Gauffreau

    The flowers are incredible! I’ve never seen anything like them. The Helen Keller passage is another powerful example of how simple written expression can provide insight into how others experience the world.

    Reply
  2. Su Leslie

    I am so enjoying these posts and this is no exception.
    Your photo is beautiful, and I am falling quite in love with borage. I now have the Rosie Belton book, complete with her Cockahoop Honey Cake recipe. It is so different to my expectations — no borage honey (no borage at all), so I now feel ok about trying to reinvent it.

    Reply
  3. thecontentedcrafter

    Another stunning photo! I love that little phrase ‘how differently we hear silence’ I read somewhere years ago and it has stayed with me ever since, that silence is never silent – it’s there we can hear the music of the spheres. Such a beautiful notion! Have a peaceful weekend xo

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I agree, Pauline, it’s a beautiful notion. And of silence, and how differently we hear it; I am hoping that Alys is well, as she has been quiet for a while on her blog. I know you are usually in touch with her, so please let her know I am sending her good thoughts.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for travelling with me, Liz. I am in awe of your recent 100 days of creativity. I thought I could manage a post a day until Christmas, but it seems that I can not. 🙂

      Reply
  4. shoreacres

    I wouldn’t say the borage is silent to thee — it spoke to you clearly enough that you featured its photo here. It’s star-like form links it to your previous post, as well.

    Helen Keller might not be so happy here today. The wind is strong enough that it sets the building to vibrating. I wouldn’t know that except for the fact that when the building begins to vibrate, the computer monitor on my desk does, as well. It’s my own personal wind gauge. The monitor usually begins to vibrate slightly at about 30-35 mph, so if I see vibration in the screen, I know it’s too windy to go to work — and not a word has to be spoken for me to know that.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I do like your handy wind gauge! And, yes, maybe the borage did speak to me. Speaking of which, about 25 years ago, I developed a great sensitivity to plants. If I placed the palm of my hand close to a leaf or flower, I could feel its vibrations on my skin. It felt as those the plant was breathing onto my skin. I don’t feel those sensations anymore.

      Reply
  5. Steve Schwartzman

    You’ve entered an abstract realm in your photograph. Happy (silent) abstraction.

    When I read “How silent to me, yet heard by the” my mind wanted to add an e and stop, making a rhyme equal to that of bee—not that I have anything against bees. Then I followed you link and found my mind’s word: “…are met in thee tonight.”

    Helen Keller’s words come close to home, not via her relation to sound, but because she mentioned the building of a subway line through Forest Hills. That’s the subway line I rode into Manhattan for all the years I lived in the town in the suburbs where I grew up.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      If I hadn’t been so fixated on all the bees in the borage, I may have thought to write ‘thee’, which does sound good and is very apt. I am pleased to learn of your use of the subway line mentioned by Helen Keller. Do you also happen to know about Trinity Church in Boston? I didn’t want to add too many links to my post but I was fascinated by another now silent star in this post; Phillips Brooks. He was the writer of the lyrics for O Little Town of Bethlehem but he was also the Rector of Trinity Church. In his time, he was considered a ‘great man’.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillips_Brooks
      Interestingly I had already chosen the Helen Keller quote and O Little Town of Bethlehem before I discovered there was a link between Keller and Brooks. According to Wiki Brooks introduced Keller to Christianity. I found that fact strange but obviously they had some connection via religious beliefs, discussions.

      Reply
      1. Steve Schwartzman

        We forgive thee for not writing thee. And thou wilt have to forgive me for not knowing about Trinity Church in Boston. I see from the linked article that two contributors from across the ocean were William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, both of whose work I like. And I also didn’t know that Phillips Brooks was the lyricist for “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” That fact prompted me to find out who wrote the music. Here’s the interesting story:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Little_Town_of_Bethlehem

        Reply
  6. Tish Farrell

    Another ‘ah’ moment: beautiful borage. The year before last I had a sudden ‘forest’ of it over the garden wall where we had tipped some heavy clay soil. A suprise constellation. And such a healing plant in so many ways.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I certainly have a forest of borage this year! There’s a constellation outside my bedroom window, and I love watching it. No telescope required! I find the blue of the borage very healing and soothing to my eyes. And, of course, the bees adore it. Would you like your forest to return?

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh well, aquilegias are very beautiful, too. Perhaps not as edible as borage. Some sites say they are edible, others say they are not. Bees are very happy with both plants.

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