Sitting at lunch, we wound up talking about monasteries. (Don’t ask me how, the conversation went every which way.) One of us had a book showing two monks playing cards, but in silence, not talking. The question came up, What is silence?…

Silence is not talking, not just absence of sound, you understand. There’s something powerful about not talking. Silence is the strongest sound. Someone lived in the wilderness for more than 35 years, rarely seeing or talking with another person. Better to live in Thoreau’s cabin, at least then you could walk the mile into town (as he did) and talk with your family and friends.

One of us turned to another and said, You wouldn’t like silence, you like to talk. We laughed, that was true of us all, we all like talking. (Even though I’d like to try silence, for a while, just to find out.)