What it sounds like

I didn’t notice how quiet winter was until spring came along. Last night, I fell asleep to birds chirping, and this morning, I woke up to more of the same. Since the frenzy of our wedding came and went in October, a funny sort of quiet has settled over our lives. It is the quiet of two quiet people smiling at each other over steaming cups of tea. It is the quiet of a sleepy dog curled up in a pool of light beneath the window and the quiet of a corner apartment at the end of the street.

It is the quiet of working hard, mostly, or of searching and watching and waiting for work. You can count on the gentle clacking of keyboard keys and the clicking of mice at any point during the daylight hours. Sometimes the hum of the dishwasher or the rumble of the dryer kicks in with a sort of baseline, offering signs of domesticity.

It is the quiet of staying in on Saturday nights for any number of reasons, the foremost of which is that we like each other’s quiet company. It is the quiet of a few plants nearly dying every few weeks and then graciously coming back to life when I remember to water them. Much to my surprise, a certain hand-me-down orchid has been quietly sprouting tendrils right and left despite my careful neglect.

It’s the sort of quiet I’ve always wished for, and it’s even more lovely than I’d imagined. I grew up in a tiny, noisy house where the TV was always on and voices were always raised. I wanted nothing more than to shut out the constant tumult of lives lived stubbornly, passionately, and loudly, but the sounds always seeped in through the crack under my bedroom door and boomeranged off the walls. I hoped very much that one day, I would trade in all that noise for a quiet place to read and rest, to love and be loved. I might have even been convinced, until last weekend, that keeping quiet is the surest path to a life well lived.

But when we arrived in Baltimore last weekend for the wedding of friends, I was bowled over by the raucous, brilliant sound of joy. The singing and dancing and stomping and toasting and clapping and whooping and laughing kicked off on Friday night and didn’t stop until the lively mass of revelers reluctantly dispersed toward sundown on Sunday. I may or may not have enjoyed the expert plucking of both harp and ukulele strings in the very same weekend. And I can’t say I’ve ever witnessed so many blessings shouted from the tops of tables and chairs and anything else that would help the sound carry. I was exhausted as we drove away, but I left with a full heart and a certainty that love can, and should, be lived loudly too.