There’s a reason — or two or five — I like mornings.
Mornings are fresh with promise. They’re calm. They dial up slowly, like someone’s gently turning a dimmer switch from twilight to bright.
And mornings, most times, are quiet.
It’s delicious, this morning quiet time, since most of the rest of my 15 waking hours usually are not.
I got to thinking recently about quiet — or “silence,” maybe, with silence meaning the absence of talking or most artificial noise. I suppose true “silence” is not possible unless one is deaf, for even when it’s quiet, it’s not silent; I can hear evidence of the wind through the trees or the rhythmic tune of the ticking clock cycling on battery power.
But experiencing or demanding quiet or silence — is it useful? Seems so.
First, this week, the flip side: Noise and its problems.
Who knew that noise has such an impact on human health and development that the World Health Organization has, since 1980, addressed problems with “community noise?” Think trains, planes and automobiles. Think televisions. Think, in a hospital, for example, the whirring and beeping and wheeling of carts.
Turns out all that noise can be harmful to us. How? Well, some noise can actually cause hearing loss, though that’s the lesser of the issues, really. Most crucial? All that noise raises our stress levels.
There’s a reason city dwellers are pegged as being irritable and unkind: It’s noisy in the city, and they’re grumpy about it. Oh, I know that’s a simple way to sum up a complex issue, but it’s true that noises can induce stress responses, and sustained stress is hard on our bodies.
To wit: Ever heard ambulance or police sirens? There’s a reason they’re not set to the rhythm of gentle ocean waves. They’re designed to make your sympathetic nervous system respond in a “Get-out-of-the-way!” manner.