The other day, I was sitting in my living room, working of a story, when it suddenly dawned on me that it was very quiet in my house. Silence, while not exact, is nice sometimes. It isn’t exact, because the clock was ticking, the birds chirping, an occasional car drove by, or a plane went overhead, and even a gust of wind could be heard; but for the most part, it was truly very quiet. I’m not one of those people who has to have noise around me. In fact, I would rather not have too much noise, most of the time. They quiet can be very reflective and peaceful, but we seldom get it. It seems like there is always some noise going on in the world, demanding our attention. Even the little kids have moments when the noise level is just too much. Even a sibling crying can feel like a lot. I have always been one to like the quiet, so I can think my own thoughts and analyze the things going on around me. I like quiet reflection.
The world’s noise is very demanding. Sometimes it almost screams at us. In stark contrast, the silence is relaxing. It doesn’t force itself on us. It simply lingers patiently in the atmosphere. Maybe that is why the song, “Silence is Golden,” was penned. It is a fleeting moment, like a sunset, and then it is gone, and the family has come home, the television is turned on, the chatter begins, and the silence is shattered. We must enjoy those moments when they show up, because we really never know how long they will last, or when the next one might occur. Silent moments are really a gift of God for those of us who don’t relish the chaotic noise of a normal day, but even we don’t always “notice” them.
Sometimes we are too caught up in our own thoughts to realize that the silence has descended upon us. I wonder how that is possible, but I guess that sometimes our own thoughts can be very noisy. Consider the last time you had trouble falling asleep. What was going on? Well, if you’re like me, your head was filled with thoughts…the cares of the day, that you just couldn’t seem to shut off. What we wouldn’t give to be able to shut off the noise of our thoughts. We can go to an empty place, away from the outside noises, away from family, and turn off the television and radio; but those pesky thoughts in our head are very hard to turn off. Oh…that we could only have a switch for that. Then maybe we could finally get to sleep.
I’m not a huge fan of winter, but recently I saw something the mentioned how quiet it seems when it’s snowing, and I started thinking about the fact, that it really does seem quieter when it snows. I thought it must be some sort of illusion, or more likely, the lack of the Wyoming wind blowing, that made my world seem more quiet. Still, my curious mind had to find out exactly what the answer was. I’m not super into scientific experiments, but this seemed like a good one to check into. Maybe it was just me thinking about that, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe other people wondered about it too.
As it turns out, it wasn’t just me…and the world really is quieter when it snows. That isn’t something you really see when watching a blizzard on television, and maybe there are some exceptions to the rule, but the reality is that snow absorbs sound waves. When it’s snowing, there’s plenty of space between snowflakes, meaning that there is also less space for sound waves to bounce around…so I’m not imagining it. The world actually gets more quiet when it snows. Bernadette Woods Placky, a meteorologist and director of Climate Central’s Climate Matters program says, “When snow falls, it does absorb some of the sound waves.”
To further add to the quiet, as snowflakes stack up, there is more space left between them, compared to the surface of liquids like water. “With all that space, sound is unable to bounce off snow as easily as it would off water,” Woods Placky says. As a result, the sound gets absorbed, and somewhat like the way a soundproof room absorbs the sound, so you can’t hear what is going on inside, the snow pulls the sound into itself, and we don’t hear it very well. Of course, things like less people outside and on the road also account for the quiet. Traffic stalls tremendously during and after a snowstorm, due to icy roads and the dangers it presents to drivers. Many animals, especially birds, also aren’t out as much. They have to adapt to snowy weather that makes their environment colder and their food more difficult to find. They hunker down to conserve energy.
Whatever the reason for the quiet we hear during a snowstorm, I have always felt like it was a beautiful thing. I don’t like the cold, and I don’t like the icy roads, but just watching the snow, fall quietly to the ground, and listening to the quiet that it produces makes it would of those wonderful experiences that you have to slow down and take the time to notice, or you will never have the full peace that happens when the world gets quiet.
When most of us think of outer space, we think of a place that is quiet and still, like floating through a vacuum. I suppose that some of that is true, but while things do float around in space, they can also crash into other things floating in space. I don’t know if collisions in space make a sound, but I suspect they do. I don’t know how two objects can collide quietly, but maybe the sound does occur, and then doesn’t carry. Whether there is a sound or not, those space collisions are not soft hits, and damage can occur.
After NASA first put the Hubble telescope in orbit in 1990, scientists realized that the telescope’s primary mirror had a flaw called spherical aberration. Basically, the outer edge of the mirror was ground too flat by a depth of 2.2 microns. That is about as thick as one-fiftieth the thickness of a human hair. I don’t know how that could make much difference, but this aberration resulted in images that were fuzzy because some of the light from the objects being studied was being scattered. While this was not caused by other objects in space, it had to be repaired anyway. The Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement, or COSTAR, was developed as an effective means of countering the effects of the flawed shape of the mirror. COSTAR was a telephone booth sized instrument which placed 5 pairs of corrective mirrors, some as small as a nickel coin, in front of the Faint Object Camera, the Faint Object Spectrograph and the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph. The fix worked, and while this was not the only repair job done on the Hubble Telescope, it was the first.
NASA arranged a repair mission SM1, or Shuttle Mission: STS-61 to make the repair. The mission took place on December 2-13, 1993 in the Shuttle Endeavor. The mission, however, was not just to fix a flaw in the original design, which would have been logical when we think of how much we depend on the Hubble Telescope, but the crew also installed and replaced other components including: Solar Arrays, Solar Array Drive Electronics (SADE), Magnetometers, Coprocessors for the flight computer, Two Rate Sensor Units, Two Gyroscope Electronic Control Units, and a GHRS Redundancy Kit. The crew included Commander Richard O. Covey, Pilot Kenneth D. Bowersox, Payload Commander F. Story Musgrave and Mission Specialists Kathryn C. Thornton, Claude Nicollier, Jeffrey A. Hoffman and Tom Akers. The mission successfully made the repairs to Hubble.
My grandniece, Anna Masterson is her own person. She likes what she likes, and she doesn’t care if that makes her different. She doesn’t care if the things she is into are the popular things that others are into or not. If others don’t Ike what she likes…oh well. Anna is not bothered by her uniqueness…and neither am I.
Anna is a quiet girl, but she’s not a shy girl. People think she is shy, but she is a listener. Anna gets to know people and what they are all about before she dives into the conversation. She likes to “figure you out” as her mom, Dustie would say. Once she figures you out, she will let you into her world. Anna thinks before she speaks, and her mom says Anna tends to astound her with with her observations and thoughts. Anna is a realist. She has questions about a lot of things and she wants a real answer, not a sugar coated one intended to make her think the world is all soft and sweet. Anna loves to sit and watch documentaries with her mom. She doesn’t care what it’s about, just that it’s real. She’s very smart and her favorite subjects in school are Math and Science.
She loves God, family, and country, in that order. Her loyalty to all of those is second to none. Her cousin, Aleesia Spethman is like a little sister to her. They are both the youngest in their family, and they are just like sisters, complete with sibling rivalry and the fighting that goes along with it. Nevertheless, as annoyed as she may get with her younger cousin, She also councils her, comforts her and protects Aleesia even from Anna’s brother, Matthew who is Anna’s best friend. Sometimes, When Matthew is to much for Anna to handle alone, she pulls out the big guns, her big sister, Raelynn. These days, since Raelynn had to have back surgery, Anna is extremely protective of of her older sister too. If she hears her sister crying in the night from pain, she is the first one there to comfort her.
Anna has a bright future ahead of her, quite possibly in the area of science. Her close relationship with God will guide her to what he has planned for her. Her parents have no worries about this girl, who is very comfortable in her own skin. She does have a funny side too, though, and according to her mom, loves cheesy puns. One night, she and her mom were making pizza crust. When they were all done and went to wash their hands off, Anna said that they “had just gotten out of a very sticky situation.” Today is Anna’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, James Renville is the typical tall, dark, and handsome type of guy, who makes the girls absolutely swoon and wish he would take notice of them. I’m told that somehow, James doesn’t know that he is cute, and since he is a little bit shy, he basically leaves all those girls sadly wishing that he would just ask them out. I’m sure he does notice them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he does anything about it.
It’s funny, in my memory files, I can still see James as a little Elvis look alike who was always very much into swords and ninja stuff. It is so hard to believe that he is almost grown up. Next year he will be graduating from high school and his kid years will be behind him forever. I don’t know what he plans to do after high school, but he has another year to figure that out, so I’m sure he will get all of that together by the time he graduates.
James has always been a quiet kid, which tells me that he has a lot of thoughts in his head that he is concentrating on. That reminds me a bit of myself. Your mind is always running. It’s almost entertaining all by itself. It’s like it sits there and explores all the possibilities there might be in life. Who knows maybe James will take after his Great Aunt Caryn and start writing. Time will tell. For now, James is spending his summer working at The Gap and hanging out with friends and family.
My mom had always wanted to have a grandchild who was born on her dad’s birthday, but none of her kids managed to accomplish that. Alena came the closest with her son, Garrett, but still missed it by one day. My niece, Toni finally got the job done when she gave Mom a great grandson, who was born on Grandpa Byer’s birthday. That was quite exciting for Mom. Today is James’ 17th birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!
Yesterday was our office picnic, which was held at my boss…he hates that word…and his wife, Julie’s cabin on the mountain. We always have such a wonderful time up there. It’s so quiet and peaceful…and yet filled with a flurry of activity. Of course, most of that flurry of activity is not of the human kind. The wildlife around their cabin is constantly busy…especially the hummingbirds. In the past I have tried to capture these amazing birds with my iPhone’s camera, and while it took good pictures of them, I could never really capture them in the way that I wanted to…until yesterday.
While we were waiting for the food to be ready, we watched the hummingbirds snacking on their food…a sugar water mix…yum!! Not quite what I would have wanted to dinner, but I guess to each his own. Hummingbirds are such fun to watch…especially when there are so many of them. On the mountain, people who have feeders and who slow down long enough, will be treated to dozens of hummingbirds diving toward them, to get the feeders. The birds, of all kinds, are always in a flurry of activity. They never slow down. We watched Hummingbirds, Mountain Chickadees, Woodpeckers, and even a Cassin’s Finch…maybe not rare, but one I hadn’t seen before. My camera was snapping constantly. I especially loved the shots of the hummingbirds fighting over the feeders, like there wasn’t enough feeders to go around.
The squirrels were a little more shy than some of the other animals, as were the deer, but I managed to get pictures of both, even if they were a little leery of me, and my motives for being in their space. The deer watched apprehensively, mostly, but the squirrels were very vocal about their disapproval of my presence…not that their chatter changed the situation, because my time in nature is far more limited that theirs, so they will just have to put up with me for a little while.
Of course, taking pictures of the wildlife was not the whole picnic, and we enjoyed such a wonderful time with friends and family, along with great food. Our time at Jim and Julie’s cabin is always a great fun, and it reminds us just how blessed we are to have them in our lives. I cannot think of better people to know and work for. God really does put people in our lives to make them rich and greatly blessed, and I thank him every day for those he has put into my life. Amazing family and friends…it doesn’t get better than that.
Early in her life, Audrianna was a tomboy. She was shy and quiet too. Now that she is a little older, she has begun to change and become more like her older sisters. She likes pink and bling. She isn’t the shy, quiet little girl she used to be. Now she is quite the little chatterbox. She loves to goof around with her sisters and brother. I think she might turn into quite a little kidder.
Audrianna used to be too shy to just come up and hug someone, unless she was told to, but recently, she he lost that shyness, and in it’s place is a loving girl who surprised me the other day when she came up to get a hug from me. I love it when these little ones come into their own, and begin to know who is related to them and who is ok to talk to. Before that, unless you are very close family, those shy babies aren’t too sure of you.
Audrianna has a gentleness about her that you don’t often see in a child of six years, but that is just a part of who she is. I think this quiet little girl might just be a little bit like her great aunt, in that we both concentrate deeply. We can get so lost in thought, that we almost don’t hear what is going on around us. The world just disappears around us. It seems odd, but it is how we are.
I’m excited to see where Audrianna’s personality will go next. She is at that age where change is inevitable. She has Kindergarten behind her now, and she is now moving into the independence that begins to come with grade school. Their personality is now influenced by more than just their family…as teachers and friends begin to play a part. Nevertheless, I think that Audrianna will not be easy to turn from her sweet little ways, and so only the good things will be gleaned from those around her. Audrianna strikes me as a very stable girl, and I think that Audrianna will grow up to be a wonderful woman some day It’s a part of who she is deep down inside. Today is Audrianna’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Audrianna!! Have a great day!! We love you !!
Uncle Jim, my Aunt Dixie’s husband has always seemed like such a quiet, and even shy man. I don’t think he really was shy, just quiet. I think he was a man who was often deep in his own thoughts, which is quite a bit like I am, so I can relate to it. Quiet people aren’t necessarily shy, and quite often, they really have a lot on their minds, but they just don’t always say everything they know. The strange thing is that their face almost always speaks volumes. That is how I have always felt about Uncle Jim. You could see how he felt by the smiles on his face…and he smiles a lot.
A serious family man, Uncle Jim moved his family to the country on the west side of Casper, where they live to this day. His children have bought homes that are very close to their parents…just across the street, in fact. The family is very close, and enjoys each other’s company. The grandchildren have the benefit of the closeness to grandparents, and their parents have the ability to work, knowing that the kids can be with their grandparents while they are away. It is a win/win situation.
For many years, Uncle Jim took care of his mother, who lived with them for quite some time, and also helped in the care of my grandparents when then needed help. That is really the thing that has always impressed me the most with my uncle. He is a very caring person, who always puts the needs of others ahead of his own needs. People just don’t come better than that. In this age of much better longevity, caregivers are very much in demand, and as a caregiver myself, I know what it takes to care for another person. It is a selfless act of a special person with a heart of gold that is filled with compassion.
Today is my Uncle Jim’s 75th birthday, and as usual, he is spending it busily getting things ready for the cold winter months that are coming up, because, that is simply what he does. He takes care of the needs of his family. Well, happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Don’t work too hard. We love you!!
I am not a Winter person, which is odd since I live in Wyoming, because we definitely get Winter. Still, there are times when I feel differently about it. Normally, the cold and, in Wyoming, the wind annoy me, as does the ice on the roads, but every once in a while, there is a night…or even just a few minutes that I feel…peaceful in the snow.
Life these days is so hectic, and there is seldom a moment to slow down, much less look around for beauty in the night air, so when there is a rare moment of peace and quiet, you want to savor it for as long as you can, before the rest of your hectic life catches up with the present time and you must return to normalcy…or maybe it is chaos.
I’m talking about that moment when you step outside, and it is so very quiet. Even though I live in a city, and quiet moments are rare, it was a moment with no cars going by. It took me by surprise. I just stepped outside, and stopped…because it was so very quiet. Everything was so very still that it felt like…a whisper. It’s hard for me to clearly describe that moment. It was so peaceful…so beautiful. It was the kind of moment when it felt, almost criminal to speak, because that kind of silence should not be broken. It was a gift, a precious moment of quiet, peaceful beauty…and it seemed to be here just for me, because no one else was around to notice or to care.
The sky was white and cold looking and the trees were perfectly still. The air was so still that it almost felt like it was frozen solid, and hanging there…suspended above the Earth. The night was so beautiful that it took my breath away. The moon peeked through the clouds and cast a soft light on the Earth below it. Along the street there were Christmas light twinkling, bringing the reminder of the wonderful season we are in. But, the amazing thing was that no one disturbed the silence, because no one was outside in the area but me.
In my hectic life, this particular moment felt totally foreign to me, and I couldn’t help but smile, because the whole scene was like stepping into a Christmas card. Perfect in every way. All too often we rush here and there trying to get all of our obligations done, and because there are so many other people out there doing the same thing, we all miss God’s beauty, that was given to us. While there is not much that can be done to slow our hectic lives, I feel very blessed to have been given just a moment that made me stop in awe and wonder at the peaceful scene around me.