You wouldn't have any way of knowing but I am on Week Two of a Vow of Silence. You wouldn't know because I chose not to make a formal announcement; I just shut the hell up. (I do still make rudimentary sentences at work and the store and the barbershop - I'm not cloistered, y'know).
So, quiet for a couple of weeks. I am noticing my face becoming more expressive. My smile works better. My eyes look deeper into the spaces in front of me. For instance, if I'm on the porch reading or drinking a beer and a storm rolls in, all thunder and flash and sputter, I can actually feel the barometer drop in my eardrum and my eyes put something back into the atmosphere, almost a negative charge countering the positive charge of nature itself. It seems as if the rain falls one drop at a time, which of course is exactly what it does.
Not speaking almost makes you an animal. Your hearing improves. My eyes dart around at the slightest noises, asking questions of each. Loud noises are becoming repugnant; car alarms and fire engines are unbearable.
I always wondered about the Silence Vow, especially regarding its declining popularity. People are anxious and willing to give up things to improve themselves. Coffee, sugar, bread, cigarettes, alcohol; all these things are common sacrifices in the contemporary quest for self-improvement. I wonder sometimes about the corporeality of these things; I wonder if we have forgotten the welfare of our spirits completely.
Anyway, for now, I'm quiet. Tonight, I'll sit on my porch and listen to the new Camera Obscura record and maybe the Rosebuds. If I don't answer my phone, you'll know why. Shhh.