Friday, March 4, 2011

Sounds of Silence

Sitting in Oregon, listening to rain pummel the roof, I'm reminded how much I like silence. I cherish the chance to listen to sounds not made by humans. This trip finds me in a lovely home in the country. The sounds I hear are made by wind, rain, or animals. Occasionally a car goes by, but the unpaved road is distant and drivers are few.

Last night I heard an owl tap its soft telegraph into the blackened air. Then I listened to chickens, turkeys and a pig settle down for the night. It was an intriguing sonata. I couldn't see them, but could just hear their rustling, grunting, and pipping. During the night I heard not a thing: a delight. This morning I listened to a rooster crowing. It was a cheery greeting, not a wake-up call since I'd been up for two hours, but a jubilant declaration of the newness of the day.

Later in the morning I heard birds eat. Debonair juncos flashed their white and grey garb along the ground, chipping as they discovered seed. Blue flash of jay from one tree to another tracked sharply in the quiet air. Robins bobbled their joy at discovered bugs. Far off, geese vees brayed their flight plans.

I'll be at this quiet retreat tomorrow and the next day and will cherish each hour of quiet. The place has sophisticated TV / dish / sound equipment. Don't care. Don't need to figure out how to use it. Can do without human sound just fine, thank you very much.

Years ago my late husband and I paddled into Canadian wilderness and, for three joy-filled days, heard no human sounds other than ours. No planes, no trucks, no cars, no radio, no TV, no chatter. Just us and the loons and the fish and the chipmunks. We couldn't believe how therapeutic the silence was. We could hear our hearts. We could hear our breath. We could hear our thoughts.

Few places on earth offer such silence. We are bombarded by the rattle of humanity, wherever we turn. And so I cherish these days spent in silence, spent oddly enough with a small white dog who is deaf. Each hour of this quiet time will be stashed in my memory bank so that, when inundated by the din of my tribe, I can make a small withdrawal and savor these sounds of silence.

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