The sounds of silence

Just returned from a walk, it is 2:30 on a Monday, and the town is very quiet.  I absolutely love the quiet, and can enjoy it so rarely.  This is the quietest time of the week, with each succeeding day getting noisier.  By Saturday morning, Friday isn’t done yet, and there is no stop to the action.  But early on a Monday is usually quiet, except after the Super Bowl, or when the state fair is in town.

Last October, I treated myself to a camping trip at my favorite location, 6,300 feet up in the Cascade Mountains.  I arrived at about 22:30, and it was so beautiful.  The sky was clear, the air was dead still, and utter silence lay across the land.  This was something I have not been able to enjoy for many years, as there is usually wind in the trees, water falling down hill, or traffic.  Utter stillness, that went on, and on…  Until I unpacked my portable stereo, and gave myself a break from outer space.  Standing on that mountain, the stars seemed very close, much closer than they do down in the city.  Which I can see from just a short distance from camp, 5,000 feet below me.  It almost surprises me that I couldn’t hear all the commotion all the way up there, it is so loud down here.

And I also enjoy the darkness, the stars in the sky, the lights across the landscape, the flickering windows of people sleeping in front of the TV.  There are fewer details to distract one, and thoughts can drift easily.  Watching a car half-a-mile away that I have been listening to for 15 seconds is really a trip, seeing as I usually can’t hear anything that far away, because there is too much noise.  Darkness is special, because it is so rare.  People who live in cities never know real darkness, as the light reflects off of the haze, making the sky glow at night.  I spent some time in the desert of Southern California, and the glow that was Los Angeles was clearly visible, over 100 miles away.  Silence and darkness, two things that I love that are getting harder and harder to find.


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