The sound of silence.

This evening at approximately 7 pm I was tempted to share with the world a wonderful moment. You may wonder was it a personal achievement? Or perhaps a moment of great pride?

No, it was something much more simple. It was at that exact time the front door of my home shut leaving me alone, in silence, with nothing to do!

It’s not like I never get to be alone. I’m happily at that time in life where I’m no longer surrounded by little ones demanding of my time twenty four seven, but its been a busy week, with much of my time taken.

So to have a moment to just be was heavenly.

Despite being a rather social person a large part of me has always been someone who enjoys solitude. As a young nurse I loved nothing more than sitting into my car and driving the short distance to the Dublin or Wicklow mountains.

As I left the busy Dublin roads behind I loved to drive the lesser roads, having no idea where I was headed, often ending up on narrow paths with grass growing up the middle. There I’d abandon the car and set off up the mountains. Not a soul around.

Sometimes I brought a walkman with me, listening to Mary Black or Jimmy McCarthy singing of the Ireland I was walking in. In those moments I was completely at peace. No one to worry me and all cares put aside for later.

There was one particular day I’ll forever recall. I’d climbed to quite a height and instead of walking back the way I’d come I decided to venture down the other side. There were no paths or tracks. As I walked I thought I heard music playing. I looked around the immense valley I was walking into and could see no one.

Mid way down the mountain I came to a small stream and as I crossed it and pushed my way through the bushes on the other side I saw where the music was coming from.

In the distance a man stood, alone in a field playing the bagpipes.

These are not an instrument well known to Ireland, nor are they an instrument I’ve ever had a love for, but out there that beautiful day, their sound echoing off the surrounding mountains they were magical.

That was over thirty years ago. Yet there are times, such as 7pm this evening, when I remember that day, the mountains, the view, the piper and the sense of peace.

And I remember what it is to be content.

In case you’re interested this is one of the songs I loved to listen to then and now. It’s called ‘As I leave behind Neidín.’ Neidín is the Irish name for the town of Kenmare, but the song is also about leaving behind a love.

28 thoughts on “The sound of silence.

    1. Thank you. I’m glad it gave you ‘a moment’ as if you were there. It was rather special and not one I’d imagine I’ll ever see again.

  1. wow how surreal a moment but how wonderful .I can picture that man and you stumbling on him

    My mam and I love Mary Black, thanks for sharing and bringing up lovely memories for me of us singing this together

  2. I do enjoy the sound of bagpipes. There’s something about them, that sound, that just stabs me, twists around my heart, and pulls.

    And I’m certainly never bothered by a man wearing a kilt playing them.

    This solitude that you speak of, that has the same affect on me.

  3. that is such an incredible memory, tric. almost otherworldly. wow, no wonder you’ve never forgotten ti.
    like you, i prize my quiet solitary times, as well as my times with others.

    1. I think having time for and enjoying solitude refills our batteries for the more chaotic moments in life. Perhaps you can’t have one without the other?

  4. Neither am I a fan of bagpipes, but 30 years ago I worked in Oman and one day as I walked through part of the desert I heard this cacophony getting louder as I walked.Then I crested a hill to find I was overlooking the police compound and their bagpipe band was playing. You know, that traditional Arab pastime!

    1. Haha. How amazing and random. My memory of that afternoon has certainly lessened my dislike for them.
      BTW my niece is teaching in Oman!

  5. there are some folk think bagpipes are an instrument best heard at a distance 😆

    I’m not one of those – I love the pipes!

    my heart swells when I hear them – [more so, since I left Scotland] – martial tunes have me standing tall, shoulders back, chest out, ready to take on the world, while a pibroch has the tears, unashamedly, flowing down my cheeks

    it’s an instrument one either loves or hates

    1. Sounds like the sound is in your blood Duncan, an association built up possibly before memories were even consciously created.
      My other half came home from St Patricks day mass where a brass band play once a year. he loves it and it was his telling me with such delight which reminded me of this moment.
      I wouldn’t say I hate them, but I can say I’ve never been moved to tears although that piper in the valley did a lot to change my mind.

  6. Lord that song brings back memories for me. Painting our then newly finished house, listening to this and other Mary Black songs, Nancy Griffith and The Waterboys.
    You are a fantastic writer Tric – how evocative is that image of cresting a hill to hear, seek and find a lone piper.

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