The Sound of Silence

The second day of our vacation we hiked Leadbetter Point State Park and the NWR area. On this day we could disregard warnings that potential flooding could make the trail impassible. Though this panoramic view does little more than suggest how beautiful this area is, or, at least can be on a sunny day, I doubt even a movie camera could have done the horizon justice.

The parking lot was empty when we arrived, and we didn’t see or hear anyone until we had nearly finished the five and a half mile walk. For most of the mile long walk across the peninsula there was no sound at all, no ocean roar, no chittering, chattering small birds, no cawing crows, no noisy cars, no roaring jets overhead, nothing more than the sound of silence.

It’s easy to overlook some forms of pollutions, but I’m convinced we suffer from sound pollution the same way we suffer from light pollution. We don’t notice it until we go out at night to observe the moon or stars and end up seeing little more than the reflection of ourselves against the sky. One only needs to try to practice silent meditation to realize city sounds are just as pervasive, intrusive, and corrosive.

As much time as I’ve spent in wilderness areas, I have seldom found a truly quiet place. As beautiful as Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is, the whirring helicopters overhead and the rifle fire from the Ft. Lewis ranges cannot help but mar the experience.

Here, though, the pervading silence made even the Gull convention that greeted us once we reached our destination seem less raucous:

The first human voices we heard upon our return were as abrasive to me as humans themselves were to Gulliver upon his return from his travels.

2 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence”

  1. Dear Shelly, I too know of what you speak—-after 15 years in glamorous California I returned to Pennsylvaina–the land of seasons and undescrible beauty. I re-noticed the stars, the blue sky, white fluffy clouds and the genuine caring people—I feel like I have a whole new lease on life—sometimes we have to get away to realize that what we were looking for was always right under our noses—thanks for you comments on silence—it’s amazing how loud it can be when so absorbed in the beauty of nature…..

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