The power of silence

I guess I hadn’t realized how fearful silence can be when you are not ready to embrace it.

Yesterday, after visiting a company in the Appenines, I stopped at the beautiful Romanesque church in the surroundings of Carpegna (the Pieve di San Giovanni Battista). Despite the two cars parked beside the church – which revealed the presence of other people in the area – I felt a strange uneasiness: an uncomfortable feeling of not wanting to be alone.

The church is on a street connecting Carpegna to Frontino (one of Italy’s most beautiful hilltop villages) and even if you seldom see a car passing by, I was  certainly not in a lonely place.

Was it the imposing mount of Carpegna facing the church? Was it the aesthetic rapture of the mix between the beauty erected by men and that displayed by nature?

I tried to step into the dark church but didn’t make it. I walked to the little cloister instead, holding my camera in my hand as if placing a screen between my eyes and the building could reassure me.

While taking pictures by the well, a young monk dressed in white (a Dominican?) and wearing sandals, got out of a door and came down the stairs smiling. I don’t know why but I felt the urge of justifying my presence there and said: ‘I just came here to take pictures’. He smiled and said ‘of course’. Then he disappeared and I soon heard the bells ringing.

He disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. This made me doubt for a second that what I had just seen was actually real.

Anyway, I headed towards the church entrance, determined to enter this time. However the sudden buzz of a bee, too noisy for my nerves, made me jump. It sounded as if someone had cut the thick silence all around.

I finally entered the dark church but did not have the guts to walk more than a few steps inside. I took 2 pictures, turned around and… walked outside as fast as I could.

What happened to me? I entered hundreds of such churches in Italy, even in much more remote places, and never felt that way.

Do I need some rest? Am I highly strung? Or is it that I’m not used anymore to being alone, by myself and with myself?

I had stopped to take pictures but that church really taught me a lesson.

P.S. A few days after publishing this post I found out that the monk was not a Dominican but a Benedictine (Monaco Benedettino della Divina Volontà).

2 comments

  1. Such quiet beauty Simona. It would feel a bit strange to be on your own in such an imposing place. And the setting of green all around. Would be wonderful to enjoy such a place. Is it in the coutnryside– doesn’t seem like it’s set in the center of a city. Simply beautiful. Thanks for stopping and sending it all to us… xox

  2. Ciao Rhonda! Being at the Romanesque church in Carpegna made me think a lot about my incapability of facing (and standing) real silence. Silence outside and within me. I cannot wait to spend a whole day there by myself. Next time I am there, I want to feel and breathe the silence. I’m sure my thoughts will be much clearer, and my heart too, afterwards. And then, I hope to be able to experience (and make room for) little bits of silence in my everyday life! Carpegna is in the hinterland at about 1 hour drive from Pesaro (which is on the Adriatic coast). The mount Carpegna is 1400 meters high and is located on the Appenine mountains. xoxo

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