Silence is Golden

“Silence is Golden.”

This little painting started as a spin-off of my previous work, “Tranquil Moonlight,” at least in the composition of the tree and the giant full moon behind it.

Then, a color palette of warm gold and bronze against a slate blue sky presented itself to me as I painted, and the addition of the little silhouetted person under the bright glow of the moon gave the image a whole different sense of scale, making this Tree of Life seem enormous!

Silence is Golden. 12" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Silence is Golden. 12″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

The person gives this image a contemplative, spiritual feeling. It could be a monk in his robes, or could just as easily be interpreted as a woman in a long dress. This outline of a little form in its simplicity is a symbol for “human.”

Close-up detail: Silence is Golden. 12" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Close-up detail: Silence is Golden. 12″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

I chose the title “Silence is Golden” both because the the scene is particularly quiet and peaceful, and because the tree is lit in a shimmering gold glow. This is a precious moment, as the person experiences the moonlight, the tree, the walk alone in silence.

Silence is Golden. 12" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Silence is Golden. 12″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving season is getting into the spirit of reflection and gratitude. I’m a big fan of practicing gratitude as a way of life, so I’ll gladly go along with any additional reminder or push to do so. The moments when I feel gratitude most intensely are the moments of silence when I stop to really and truly think about giving thanks. It’s easy to give lip service to gratitude, but for me, really feeling it means stopping all the chatter in my mind and fully committing to being present and still.

Silence is Golden. 12" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Silence is Golden. 12″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

So along with this little painting, I’ll share this poem, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, which always has a way of helping me shift my mindset back into that silent, powerful form of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

1 thought on “Silence is Golden

  1. Teri Robus

    Hi Cedar,
    Thank you for posting Desiderata. I read it long ago and am so happy to see it again.
    Happy Holiday season to you and your family.
    Teri

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