I can't really remember when I first noticed the sincere, subtle beauty of silence.
Not the absolute, dead silence, mind you, but the organic, dynamic silence.

The silence of a deep forest, covered over and over in silvery snow, sucking up every bit of sound, with the faint crackling of heavy snowflakes melting on your skin, the silent rustling of your clothes as you breathe, blowing small clouds in the soft moonlight.

It is not total sensory deprivation, not the silence of a dark locked chamber, though darkness does add to this silence. It is a different state of mind, a certain feeling of freedom, the knowledge that no other human being is around, that you can be your truest self.
And once you start looking for true silence, you'll find it where you would least expect it.

Minutes after midnight, in the kitchen, lying on the tiled floor, orange streetlights illuminating the room, a single car passing by.
On the small balcony in a late summer night, watching the lights of the houses across the street go out one after another, taking a sip of cold water.
At four in the morning on a usually busy street, walking through the cold, watching the christmas decorations of big stores lighting the deserted area.

When you got a feeling for this silence, for this sense of privacy, comfort and freedom, you might even find silence in the company of others. The silence of a conversation that allows you to be yourself, a conversation that has the smooth, calming flow of a small stream in the mountains, gurgling quietly, passing rocks and sand and trees in a single, continuous movement, a conversation that has the comfort of the home you have lived in for so many years, where you can walk around in pitch back darkness without tripping over the stairs or hitting the table around that corner.

To me, that is the real meaning of silence. Being calm. Being yourself. Being free.