Her name was Silence and she waited in the darkness of the night for the dawn to come to her. She thought about light and how it grew from the horizon before the sun rose up from its night time resting place. She thought about the dark of the sky and how it grew lighter as the stars faded and the moon went away.
She thought about the meadows and the hillsides; how they grew green and living from the shadows. She thought about the forest that edged her green meadow and how the shadows stayed there safe under the trees. All waiting for the night to return so they could grow and spread.
She thought about the dawn; how the birds rose up to greet it with song. She thought about giving names to the birds and the other animals that waited for the dawn, but her name was Silence and she thought all names should be like that.
Before, when she’d lived amongst other people, they’d insisted on giving names to things. Almost as if giving something a name could control it.
She knew she didn’t control anything. She was not sure if she understood anything. All she knew was that she had to sit in silence and meditate on her name for the dawn to come and take the darkness away.
Silence did not know – or care – whether she was happy, alone in her valley with no-one else to talk to. She wanted to forget about words and the troubles they bring. She wanted to leave explanations to those who demanded them.
Silence thought understanding would come with time. One day, when she was prepared the others would come. All making their way to her valley where she would be ready then to speak of all she had learnt, knew and understood. Then, when the pilgrims arrived, seeking enlightenment from the wise woman of the holy valley, she would be ready then to change her name from Silence.
As the dawning sun warmed her face, Silence rose up from where she was sitting. She gathered flowers, still damp from the dew, in her arms. She climbed up the hill, staying ahead of the slowly spreading light. When she arrived at the grave mound, high on the hillside, she spread flowers across all the graves. After placing the flowers, she stood for a moment at each of the graves of the women who had lived alone in the valley before her, back when their names were once Silence too.