The Snoof Struck Dumb

I love Spring. Every flowering tree bursts out in glorious bloom and the bushes are all brimming with flowers. Primroses, roses, jasmine, chrysanthemums, snap dragons, hill lupines,  and wild clovers jostle with each other making one’s eyes dance with joy. It is also the heady season of wondrous scents wafting through the air. Eucalytpus scented trees mingled with creeper jasmines and roses should make a highly pleasant combination, but I would not know.


Come Spring and I also become a snoof I can conduct an orchestra of sneezes, sniffle-puffs and croaky throats. Like an orchestra in which owls, bats and frogs are the main participants. This Spring, I also had the privilege of silence. The throat was affected. At times, there was a competition between the scratchy throat and the stuffy nose. For some time, things were rocking along pretty smoothly with an achoo here and an achichoo there, when one morning my throat gave out completely and nothing emanated.

It was marvelous I tell you, simply marvelous. Our culture suffers from a talking epidemic: it is as though talking is an art, a hobby, a vocation even. Everybody is encouraged to voice their opinions and to have a view point. Sometimes, we feel the need to say something that we don’t really mean or understand.

But you see, all that was stripped from me when I lost my throat. There were no expectations. I spend the most gleeful week possible. I would walk into meetings and try to look apologetic as I pointed to my throat. It was hugely introspective and rewarding. Like a time-out for myself in a noisy world. Colleagues had tea with me in companionable silence, marveling that it did not feel awkward at all to not have a single word between us.

I quote from article:

Like Paul Goodman writes:

Not speaking and speaking are both human ways of being in the world, and there are kinds and grades of each. There is the dumb silence of slumber or apathy; the sober silence that goes with a solemn animal face; the fertile silence of awareness, pasturing the soul, whence emerge new thoughts; the alive silence of alert perception, ready to say, “This… this…”; the musical silence that accompanies absorbed activity; the silence of listening to another speak, catching the drift and helping him be clear; the noisy silence of resentment and self-recrimination, loud and subvocal speech but sullen to say it; baffled silence; the silence of peaceful accord with other persons or communion with the cosmos.


I wish we could all choose one day of the week, every week, in which to stay silent and just observe what is going on around us. I am sure it will make us better listeners and more appreciative of the gift of the gab.

2 thoughts on “The Snoof Struck Dumb”

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