S. is currently in the US visiting a university there and taking part in an invitational program for a few weeks, which leaves me alone in the house. With the windows closed it is such a silent place. Even with the with the windows open, it's pretty quiet due to being right next to the countryside. Mostly, however, it is the lack of another person in the house that makes it so amazingly quiet. There is no movement and no sound save for my own.
Besides being used to living with other people in the house, as has been the norm for many years for me now, I've also tended to live in less sound proof places. In North America, I preferred to live older houses as they have more character and less of that "built to fall down" and "made out of as much cheap synthetics as possible" feelings I get from so much of the new construction out there. One downside of older houses is that noise, as with heat, tends to leak in and out them. In Hawaii, windows are always open out of necessity and the sounds of people in the neighbourhood routinely would filter in. The new place here in Zürich, however, is stone quiet.
This really struck me yesterday mornng. I woke up when my body decided it was time to and everything was utterly, perfectly still. I could practically hear my own breathing. The absence of others was palpable even with my eyes closed. It reminded me of my early childhood in rural Canada: a perfect stillness that requires the absence of others to achieve.
While I don't think I'd want to live in perpetual quiet and solitude quiet this complete, it is nice to get some ultra-quiet time everyone once in a while to let the senses unload and relax for a couple days.
This morning was a slightly different story: I was awoken by the ringing of the door bell by some workers coming to measure the deck area for some flooring they are putting in on Friday. Tonight some couch surfers come by, so there will be people about again.
Right now, I need to push some bug fixes to git and then hop in the shower before my first telco of the day. No matter how quiet it is inside the house, life itself is always full and busy.