Friday, July 8, 2011
Can You Hear The Silence?
Imagine hearing nothing but the waves on sand, the breeze through tall grasses and the cries of shore birds.
Think of all the noise you hear every day, the noise you’re hearing right now. Much of it is background, white noise, sounds that you’ve tuned out but that continue to bombard your system. Think of all those sounds, those decibels of man-made noise.
Maybe you thrive on it. You’ve got the television on all day, just for the company. You’ve got the mp3 tunes pumped through stereo speakers. Your music inspires you, energizes you.
How about the sound of silence? Do we hear it anymore? Is there any place not touched by human noise?
I’m headed to one such place today. For the next few weeks I’ll be camping on the sand inside a remote bay on Kodiak Island, Alaska. There’s a creek that burbles, the ocean waves that rumble and shush, breezes that tickle the tall beach grasses, insects that buzz the riot of wild flowers growing there in profusion, and the musical sounds of little birds in the brush.
In all our time there last year the only human noise we heard was an occasional small plane flying overhead and the diesel rumble of a fisherman’s boat in the bay as he checked his crab pots.
The solitude did wonders for me. It was time away from everything distracting, everything rushed and unimportant. I was able to think about my writing in a detached way. When the urge to write became too much, I wrote in the sand - just names, but seeing them gave me a thrill. I knew I’d return to write their stories and be better for my enforced writing break.
And so it is that I look forward to the next few weeks of silence. I’ll be walking the beach and picking up whale bones, sitting beside the fire made of driftwood, hiking the hills and exploring the creeks.
I’ll see y’all later.