Conversations with Silence


Mermaid Close, October 2006

These are conversations I have had in the deep hours of night, or in the stillness of early morning; conversations with silence while I grappled with myself, my life, with everything or found myself alone. Mostly I am talking to myself, however, on rare occasions, or perhaps not so rare, I am talking to you.

It may well be that you will never have the chance to read any of these conversations, but in spite of that, here I am… writing again. The conversations aren’t new – I have been a part of them a million times, the gentle or raging give and take of idea and soul. This will be new for you – like discovering a secret door that leads to an inner world. I apologize in advance for disappointing.

Often, I find myself sitting and thinking of you – and all of the many things that I would like to tell you. In some ways, I think that you hear those things, as I think of them, the intent to share not bound by time or space. It is like casting a wide net, when I am falling asleep, or sitting quietly… a wide net of thoughts that I cast out, as though I am fishing, but not wanting to capture anything; instead of capturing, only to draw everyone closer, everything closer so that I can whisper to them that I love them – much the same way that I do when I talk with you. I imagine that each knot on the net is a person that I care for, that I love, each connected to the next knot, and intimately required for the overall function of the net. I stand on my imaginary boat – the colour varies, sometimes red and white, sometimes blue like the ocean and sky… she has no name, not yet. I stand on the boat and take the net into my arms like an embrace before tossing it out as far as I can. In my minds eye, the moon sparkles, and reflects the words that I have written on the rope that joins the knots. It is almost as if those knots then turn into shining points, like stars, when they touch the water – and to each one I sent my thoughts and prayers – that they may each find the strength to face whatever challenges they are facing now, that if they are angry or suffering emotionally that their hearts be softened by love and understanding, so that the pain will ease, and that they will experience beauty and joy and love each day – and to you, silence, not because you do not deserve the same – I simply know it is enough to feel it for you, than to express it in words.

These conversations at times will be like songs – a poem that sings itself – and I just record the song as it drifts past my ears. Most of all, these conversations are for you – to you, to reassure you that you are not alone. How many there will be, I cannot predict – perhaps only a few that will need to be written, a handful of songs and poetry, or maybe more – just wait and see…


In silence – everything is heard.

Through the window, I can see the mist starting to rise up off of the lake. The morning sun is growing brighter against the trees. The reds and golds are standing out more now against the fading  blue-grey backdrop. The mist brought an even deeper silence today to an already tranquil place. Not even the loons resting in the nearby bay are willing to call out and break it.

Earlier, I went to the dock to stand in the swirling mist, to be embraced by it, and become lost in it. It was as though the mist itself was alive – moving with a purpose all its own across the lake, a gentle shroud to force, enforce the stillness, if only for a few hours before day break. I didn’t need to be forced though into this stillness, instead, I relished those extended moments… there are not enough of them in any given day, not nearly enough…

I feel as though I am watching emptiness itself through the window of this cottage. There is nothing to grasp in the mist. Some would argue that because the mist obscures everything, covering it and making it impossible to see that it is the opposite – but to me the beauty is in that there is little to see that we don’t already know is blanketed by mist. What can be seen is not questioned any more than what can’t be seen – if you can see it, you know you are seeing it through the mist, and won’t necessarily be able to see all of it or in any great detail… and what you can’t see, you know it is obscured by the mist. There is no point in worrying about it until the mist dissipates. In the mist, there is no guess work to be done – nothing can be seen clearly – and we accept that this is the way it is in the mist. No struggling to find out what is being hidden from view, instead, I just sit quietly here, simply enjoying the mist, the land and everything around me just as it is. The mist reminds me of nothing but the mist. I like this. There is nothing to distract me from being here. Now that the sun is rising higher in the sky, and the mist is starting to burn off, the brightly coloured trees begin to pull my eyes away. The sunlight is competing with the fall leaves by creating beautiful lines of shadows between the pines and balsam. I cannot help but follow each one now too. The trees and their mossy coats call to me, asking me to walk among them, and the stones whisper to a shout to pay attention to them as well, covered in thick emerald green in places …. So much demanding my attention! I am grateful to the mist – for its sweet silver face, for greeting me this morning. I am happy that I did not miss these moments…



the lake is singing

in soft, low tones

before sunrise

alone with early morning

she dances as though

no one is watching

maybe she believes no one is

the world still is sleeping

while her silver nightdress skims

across the still glass

barely reflected in the half-light

serene arms extended

silver tendrils like bracelets

drip over her wrists and ankles

moving slowly to harmonies

only she can hear


in these silent moments


from your watchful post

she reminds you

with her cool airy kisses

that she knows she is not alone

never alone

and neither are you, dear one…

neither are you


ho! The loon calls

to his partner

as dusk settles on the lake

we will swim together

you and I

while the land prepares

to sleep

fish swim slowly

beneath our feet

and snapping turtles slumber

deeper below

we can swim here

you and I

in this warm golden light

before the sun rests too

come my love

come with me

we will sing and waterdance

here between the long shadows

of the trees.


in silence

every thing is heard

breath of the mist thunders

on new ears just opened

in the morning

wings stretch above

the water line

and crash down

before the final leap

into the sky

waves clamor against

the wooden dock

clanging like deep soulful bells

that fill the souls

of my feet with sound

and somewhere nearby

the moss is waking up

the only sound that rivals now

is the pounding of my own heart


I have discovered that it is not possible to sit on the wooden dock by the water and watch the sun setting and feel any measure of regret for the time spent there. There is a stillness that grows in me each time I walk the short path down. It is perhaps the echo of the silence that follows face of the water as the sun falls lower behind the trees, and the orange-gold light spreads across the sky. Maybe I am just as much an echo of this moment, of this silence, of this lake – nothing more.

The sunset now could be the mirror image of the morning; the lake was like glass, and the sky above held the smallest break along a line of heavy clouds, just wide enough for the sunlight to shine through. Golden as well, brushing the tops of the trees and reflected perfectly below in the water. It was just as breathtaking as it is now – and I am the silent witness once again. The loon is the only one brave enough to break the silence, but even his call is not shattering – it does not crush the silence, but instead enhances it.

This morning, thoughts of you were still firmly tied to dreams that I had the night before. They pulled me along through the fog of being half-awake, and I could do nothing but follow them. It is not strange that I think to you, or that I wake up and somehow you are tied to dreams, but even now, as the day closes, I am here, thinking once again. There is a sense of being incomplete, when you are not near me.


the gentle knocking of my heart

echoes the waves

as they fall against the shore

each moment like a photograph

complete in itself

I am the silent witness

Remembering, recording

On the soul

As though engraving in stone

So never will I forget

I reach out heart, mind

To hold you

Empty case and empty space

Not grasping


this shell


and purple lines

like veins through

and the white bridge

to join two halves




Mermaid Close, October 2006

Breath thunders

In the face of silence

Reaching out to

Stay my lips

Open calls

Open warms

Open informs

Quiet me

Quiet room

Enough to hear

To listen

To know

What needs

To be heard.


Hello my old friend, I have missed you. There have been many times that I have thought about you during these days, wanted to reach out to you, and to hear your voice again. The days have been different lately, filled with observation, thought and reflection – funny I know coming from me, usually so chaotic and frantic, but I have been able to empty everything out. It has been like tipping over a tea cup and suddenly discovering an ocean was kept there. I have been flooded with a sense of peace, release and healing that I did not expect. The result has been that I am now filled with quiet joy (the sister of frantic ecstatic joy that makes people leap about and shout)… this is who I am.



it is not only when

the voice remains


It is a strange reflection, I suppose, but I have been thinking about the nature of silence, your nature, and how I have been mistaken up until now to believe that because I rarely speak – that I know you. In this moment, I understand clearly that I am only beginning to know who you are, and have yet to truly understand. My noisy, clattering inner world is not you. Hello – for the first time.



Mermaid Close, October 2006

The wind kept me awake in the early morning – I realized, lying in the darkness, that there was no other way that I could think of to describe the sound. It was the sound of the wind through the tall fir trees, purely that, and needed no other explanation. How many other things are like that? How many things simply sound just as they are – and why does it kindle a small fire of delight in my soul to know it? I feel like a small child when this happens, and imagine myself standing at the base of the trees outside, clapping my hands and smiling – laughing out loud, with my face turned upward. It is glee that I see in this child-face of mine. I want to call to the wind and say “I hear You!” I hear you even when you are resting – I hear you.


I want to write to you…

Fold the pages

White and uncreased

Into hundreds of tiny birds

Every lettered paper

And toss them

Out across the waters

To the open arms

Of the wind

My hope

That every curve

Every stroke of pen

Every line

Be carried up to you

And on these wings

Invisible and strong

Tell you once more

How much I love you



November 2006

So – she’s leaving
The relentless lyrics
Fly out of the speakers
Crashing against the windows
And walls
Shattering against itself
Looking in – it’s another day
Another night waiting for another morning

So – she’s leaving
And yet has no where to go
Wanting too much
Wanting nothing at all
The song left hanging
In the air

So – she’s leaving
The scar of absence
Constant wound
Where is the balm to heal
The mind and soul
If the room stays empty
And unused?

So – she’s leaving
The shell remains
Empty filled with remorse
And guilt
No room for love?
No room
In the palm of yesterday
My eyes naïve and too young
Sitting in the centre
Pulling the world into my lap
So – she’s leaving
Where has everybody gone?
No where everywhere
In here…

Touches heart.

Leigh-Anne Tyson


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