Sunday, September 21, 2008

Silent Places

Readers of this blog will know that I like to use the word silent and silence to describe what I like about the outdoors. I use those words rather vaguely because, although I think we all have an idea in our heads what is meant by those words, there is a mystical element to the way I use them in this blog. Meaning, I like to keep a mystery on somethings and not just clearly spell them out at every point.

Of course, tons of people, in the literary world, have done the exact same thing. I was recently e-mailed the following short article:

The World's Quietest Places by E. Readicker-Henderson.

Read the article, but I think most of what is said is common sense from our experiences. If you live in the big city it becomes much more obvious that quiet places are much more sacred. The article notes that it is not "absolute silence" we are trying to achieve in our quest for quiet places.

It is interesting to note that even in the most quiet places there probably are sounds that do not register to the human ear; sort of like blowing on a silent dog whistle. Even still, in most outdoor places that are quiet it is good to slow down, take in the air, and just listen to what you can hear. Recently, I was in the middle of a forest and my hiking friend was mentioning that it was pure silence there. Nothing. Sometimes at a quiet place you might hear the wind moving through, but not this time. It was absolutely silent.

A few weeks ago I was on my favorite exercise hike in the Eastern Sierra I usually do every few days during the summer and other times of the year when it is not snowed in. I consider the whole hike a quiet place. Although, it is usually not absolutely silent since up higher I occasionally encounter some wind and some wildlife making some sounds at some point. I rarely see other humans on this trail.

I have shown parts of this trail in my videos before. This is a nice view looking down on the lakes with some nice silence. Here is the video:

It's a Beautiful Morning Too

In any case, it is good to have these meditative moments where you can slow down. Being in the big city as much as I am I really look forward to these types of times. The longer I am at the silent places the more culture shock I get when I get back to city traffic. It does take me some time to recover and speed myself up again.