I’m sometimes accused of talking too much. There is of course no truth in this. But maybe when I espouse the virtues of silence, of retreats, wide open spaces, quiet reflection in holy places … maybe I do use a few too many words. When talking with another there’s a vacuum to be filled. When you’re alone there are no dualities, only yourself, the wide world, God in whatever form he manifests himself.
There’s a lesson for me in Silvain Tesson’s The Consolations of the Forest. Mischa is driving the author out to the cabin on the shore of Lake Beikal where he’ll spend the next six months on his own.
The landscape is bleak: ‘the ice rather resembles a shroud.’
Mischa: ”It’s dreary.’ And nothing more until the next day.
And the next day, the ice cracks, and ‘fault lines streak across the quicksilver plain…’
‘It’s lovely, ’ says Mischa. And nothing else until evening.
How does anyone in the company of another inhabit such supreme reticence, such silence?
Should, I wonder, I look for the answer in discussion with another? Tempting.