We live in a noisy world, and never more so than during the holiday season. Bells jingle and tinkle, horses clip-clop, carolers falala, and every store has piped-in music and noisy toys to tempt buyers and their children. Noise seems to be valued and desired more than quiet.
Where I live, we are experiencing the deepest, darkest days of the year. We hurtle toward the Winter Solstice and our celebration of Christmas a few days later. These events toward the end of our calendar year make me want to stop and reflect, and that requires quiet.
Underwood knows that Christmas has its own kinds of quiet. Hence her picture book The Christmas Quiet Book. There's "knocking with mittens quiet" and "listening for sleigh bells quiet," for example. Even as I look back on the past year, these kinds of quiet indicate anticipation, looking forward.
Both books are illustrated with quiet animal drawings by Renata Liwska, who demonstrates that quiet does not mean inactive or passive.
As I wait for these days at the end of the year to arrive and pass, I wonder how I can be actively quiet? How can I stop, reflect, look back, look forward and still get done the many things this season demands? How do you find quiet time?
In tribute to the season, I offer this sweet Austrian carol, "Stille, Stille, Stille," sung in English by the Norman Luboff choir.