Turning Down the White Noise

*I wrote this while attending a small acoustic show at a bar down the street. Dean Johanesen was the artist.*


I cannot sleep without a white noise. Whether it is a fan, an air cleaner, an air conditioner, or anything else, I need something repetitive near my ears to tune out the silence.

This singer’s music is wonderful. This whole setting – the music, the people talking and laughing and enjoying themselves and paying attention to the show – is wonderful. But why do I find it so appealing? I’m not paying attention to the lyrics, and I’m not listening to any particular conversations. I only feel a beautiful rhythm. The music reverberates in my ears and throughout my body, and the chatter collectively coalesces into the loosely structured verses of a melody.

The music of life allows me to get lost; I don’t know how to act when it stops.

I see the words and actions of others, whether right or wrong, as real and true. I am standing on a crumbling rock, but what is real and true is built on a solid foundation. The noise, when combined, is peaceful to me because it is something I have not been able to create myself. I have no idea what is real and true.

The noise seemingly provides a semblance of meaning and a backdrop to the world that I cannot provide. It is structured and orderly. It shelters me from the silence, from my own thoughts, from some of life’s tribulations (if only for the night). The noise protects me from that which I am most afraid of.

Do I want the music to stop? Do I want to face the world without a soothing melody keeping me comfortable?

Underneath the stars, tranquil and serene, with only the sounds of nature whispering in my ears. Free from artificial meaning and at peace with the world, I should be more eager to face life’s challenges with an honest effort instead of hiding behind a wall. I need to learn to sleep without the aid of a white noise.

I need to face the silence.

I need to offer my own noise to the world.


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