Those of you who know me will have some appreciation (or apprehension) of this little tidbit: I have been silent for more than 24 hours. My throat ache began on Friday, and our family spent much of the weekend feeling varying degrees of feverish, miserable and fine. Thea mostly felt fine, which isexactly how you want your high-energy toddler to feel when the rest of the family is under the weather. Tuesday morning, I had a series of highly talkative meetings. I knew going into my first meeting that I was going to lose my voice. I could feel it. By the time I got to my last meeting of the day, I was flagging. My voice was breaking, kicking in and out. This morning, I went to the doctor. Her orders: No talking, no whispering. Indefinitely. Apparently, I'll be able to tell when it's time to talk again -- which is interesting, because it took me 40 years to learn when to shut up. But the lesson is this: Silence, even medically imposed silence, changes communication. I don't think I'm listening differently, but I have been paying a lot more attention -- to people around me, to different ways I can connect and communicate without my voice. Nikole left me alone with Thea for an hour this evening while she ran errands. I admittedly couldn't avoid speaking, even in strained whispers, but for most of that hour we played together quietly. There was more, or more of a different, connection. What if we all practiced periods of disconnection from our sense, forcing ourselves intentionally into spaces where we have to pay different attention? Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws sure will be interesting.