The Silence Between the Notes

Yesterday my town’s high school went into a hard lockdown due to some idiot kid making an imminent threat on social media. One of the elementary schools is nearby so they too, went into hard lockdown as a precaution. The remaining schools, including my children’s, went into a soft lockdown. I talked to a few parents with high school-aged kids and from the sounds of it, it was scary as hell. One mother told me her daughter hid under a desk for 90 minutes. I can’t even fathom any of that. Thankfully at the end of the day, no one was hurt and things were resolved. But STILL. So on top of 2020, on top of not going to school for a year, on top of missing people’s faces, on top of LIFE, now they had this to contend with.

Anyway, that night I was binging my latest show and one of the characters made a comment that said, ”she loved the music between the notes. The silence.” I loved that so much I wrote it down in my little “Notes of Quotes” that I keep on my phone. I Googled it later and found it’s a spin off of a truly famous quote: ”Music is the silence between the notes” by Claude Debussy and also similar to ”The Music is not in the notes, but the silence in between” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Now you’re probably thinking I’ve officially lost it, what does a music quote have to do with a hard lockdown? I suppose nothing really, but seeing as I was presented with both on the same day, it made me think. When was the last time any of us just sat and ”listened.” (I’m speaking metaphorically so try and keep up.) All day long we’re surrounded by He said, She said. Republican vs. Democrat. Right vs. Wrong. Screens. Video Games. Social Media. Fox News. MSNBC. Noise. Noise. Noise. We are constantly surrounded by all the shit. It doesn’t matter what you believe. What you think. How old you are. This country, this world just has So. Much. Noise.

I feel like we’ve forgotten how to listen. Or at least how to listen to the right things. In one of the letters that my 18-year-old mother wrote (see my last blog for reference) she said: ”you can learn a lot by just listening.” Granted she was referencing being in the “country” (aka suburbia before it was truly suburbia) and finding her way to a barn party but… she still had a valid point. It’s the pauses in between the notes. The rests. The silence amongst the noise. Those pauses are what bridges the notes together, ultimately creating the music. Without them, all we hear is a continual stream of sounds with no true definition. I feel like lately we are missing so many of these pauses that we’re truly not hearing the music. We are just bombarded with constant chaos and banter and downright depressing stuff. We’re missing life itself.

My heart aches for that idiot high school kid who obviously is looking to be heard, one way or another. Just as it aches for all those affected by his poor choice. It aches for all the people who are so one-sided on everything – not just politics – but who simply refuse to listen to anything other than what they “know” to be true. Everybody likes to talk, but no one ever wants to listen.

If we want our kids to learn, and if we want to continue to evolve and better ourselves (or at least not kill each other in the process) we simply cannot forget the importance of silence. The power in it. And to just listen once in awhile. I’m not saying don’t watch the news or hide out alone in your closet all day. I’m simply suggesting to take a few more pauses in your day. Maybe that means listening to your favorite music. Or going for a walk. Or reading a mindless book. Or even just doodling. It doesn’t really matter. Do whatever you need to do to shut out the noise and listen. You might be surprised at what you hear.