When I am getting up in the dark or in the early dawn light, the cat will complain a little. A small sound.

There are a couple of bathroom errands with the swish of a hairbrush, the soft clink of a bamboo toothbrush on pottery.

As I head toward the kitchen, the whirring of the hepa filter catches my attention. I turn it off.

Silence. A warm, dark silence.

The only light comes from the miniature hydroponic garden in the corner of the kitchen. Enough light to make my morning tea.

Before I turn on the computer, I unplug the external cooling fan. As the computer boots for the day’s work, it makes no sound. As I open the first tabs, it is still silent – I’ve turned off audio notifications.

From time to time, I hear the soft pad of the cats’ paws, a gentle rhythm while he explores his space.

As the early morning progresses, the dog starts to get restless. A few creaks of his bed. A few taps of nails on the metal of the crate. Soon, it will be time to begin the day.

Of course, some mornings, the bay intervenes in the silence.

Wind and atmospheric change push the water into powerful waves that can be heard even with the windows closed.

Though I cannot see the water, I know that there are rolling waves that hit the shore in a crash of white. Stones tap against each other. Driftwood is thrown onto shore.

On these days, I do not expect my morning walk to be silent. Wind will push through the trees, making leaves rustle and branches creak. The wind itself seems to have a voice.

CathyHird bodygeese 16Sep23

Many mornings, when I first awaken, the bay is silent.

These are the days when I know that the morning walk will be wrapped in silence. Never completely without sound.

Birds will voice their thoughts about the day.

Squirrels and chipmunks will complain that the dog disturbs their chosen routines.

In late august and early September, cicadas hum.

And most of the summer, mosquitos and deer flies find me with their distinctive hums.

By eight o’clock, the silence of the walk is momentary, broken by the school bus, a car, a tradesperson’s van. When these pass, it returns, becoming a cadence of absence.

Home is an oscillation of noise and silence.

The kettle whistles when it is time to make tea, which I will then sip in silence.

The cat jumps on my lap, momentarily stopping the tap of computer keys, then filling the space with a purr.

Somewhere there is a tennis game that my husband just has to watch. The squeak of shoes on pavement, the whap off the ball striking racket and ground, the grunt-shout of the lines people calling out. At least, I think that is what the word is supposed to be. Mostly, it is a sharp, annoyed sound.

My husband heads for a nap, and silence descends again. I protect it by closing up the computer and picking up a book. Sounds from the road, off the water will wind their way through the windows, but in between, there is an aura of stillness.

I will turn on the radio for news, leave it on for the noon call-in show on CBC. I let words of the world’s situation pour into the house. I need to know of the sorrow in Morocco. I ache at the thousands of missing people in Libya after the damn break.

It is important to know what is going outside my life, but I also turn off the radio. Sometimes the topic of the call-in show touches too close to home. Sometimes it just doesn’t interest me.

Usually, it is an opportunity to hear what people I do not know are thinking. This challenges my assumptions of what it is natural to think.

CathyHird body 16Sep23
Over the past number of years, I have appreciated the voice of

The publisher/editor Anne Finlay-Stewart has a keen eye with fingers that write truth carefully.

She has also opened space for voices from the community to be noticed, voices not often offered space in other media. I will be sorry when the Hub goes silent at the end of October.

But I rest assured that Anne’s voice will speak up wisely and well in other places.

ReboundOS PubPartSem 24May23 oncetheyregonetheyregone


Cathy Hird lives on the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.






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