Because I was a noisy child, I had to learn about quiet. In the classrooms and in the hallways at School 18, I learned about an enforced, unnatural and inpatient quiet. There, from kindergarten through eighth grade, I learned that even my childish chatter could bring embarrassing consequences from the harsh regime that ruled the school.
It was Camp Hochelaga, where I spent my summers, that taught me about natural, gentle,and comforting quiets. There I learned that quiet can allow you to hear the crackle of the wood in a camp fire surrounded by 150 girls of all ages. Or the splash of your arm as it hits the water and tries to synchronize with your breathing. Camp was a noisy place, too. Lots of singing, and laughing, and loud, loud talking. There were mischievous breaks, and stunts, rowdiness after taps when we were supposed to be asleep, or during rest hours when we were supposedly, well, resting. But the sound of our exuberance and joy never interfered with our other respectful quiets.
This Sunday when I pick up my needles in service and remembrance, I’ll try and capture a bit of the Hochelaga spirit and quiet.