The Sound of Silence
I woke up this morning to the sound of silence. Have you ever really tried to find silence? The more you listen, the more you hear. As I slowly woke up, I could hear my son and husband talking, laughing, and playing in the other room; I could hear the patter of rain on the tin roof, the sound of the furnace kicking on, and the mufflings of the morning news. I closed my eyes and took it all in, all the way in to my soul. I looked out the window and admired the many shades of green and was awwwed by the fact that mother nature’s paint brush could wield such magnificence. The pine needles looked soggy and I knew it would be another rainy day in the Adirondacks but nothing could make me feel warmer than I felt at that moment. If only I could bottle the feeling to just dab it on any time I feel the need.
My husband’s family has a vacation place in the Adirondacks and we try to visit as often as we can. For the last few years, we have made a week’s vacation of it in Spring and it’s something we look forward to all year long. Rain or shine, the mountains feed my soul and revive my spirit to get me through the hustle and bustle that is our “real” life. When I am here, I cannot help but wonder why I ever left. You see I grew up in a small Hilltown in MA at the foothill of the Berkshires. While I’ve never actually lived here in the Adirondacks, it feels like home. I wonder if it’s the escape from reality that makes me never want to leave or if it IS actually the place. Don’t get me wrong, I love our life; our family, our friends, and the life we have built together but sometimes I wonder what kind of quality of life we have on the Island of Long as I call it. It’s a place where everything has to be bigger and better and people always want more. The days seem shorter, the to do lists longer, and the need for more is just never ending.
I cannot help but think that less truly is more. The Island is so very loud and you cannot find silence no matter how hard you try. Believe me I have tried. I often tell people I have a love/hate with the place because while I dislike the traffic and neverending bustle of it all, it’s also a place with so much beauty and wonder.
When I first moved to Long Island for college, I remember trying to find a silent place where I could just be alone to replenish. There was a huge office building just down the street from campus with a Long Island sized parking lot. During the day the lot was filled with the commotion of beeping cars and people who who were rushing from one place to another. There was a grassy area that was lined by trees just behind that felt tucked away from “it all“ and at night the lot was a virtual ghost town. I spent many a night there tuning out all that went on just feet away from me; I would take deep breaths of less than fresh air and savor the moments of peace as I gazed upon the same stars I had admired all my years as a child in the dark, silent peace of a Berkshire’s night. So weird to think that so many miles apart and we share the same sky to gaze upon.
As I sit here typing, my life’s montage runs in the background of my thought and I can’t help but wonder what the meaning of it all is. I am reminded of a feeling of unsettledness back on the Island, a place I just can’t bring myself to call home. Yet, it was the very place I could not wait to venture to after High School. I am a firm believer in the idea that we should live life with little regret; that the experience of things truly is the meaning of it all. There is both a feeling of fear and great exhilaration associated with the unknown and unpredictable. And now, as I have become a mother, wife, and alleged adult, I can’t help but second guess these feelings I once thrived on. I don’t want to be afraid or uncertain of anything any more; I want it all planned out with corresponding to do lists and scheduled days of impromptu. But then, as we all know, life doesn’t work that way. And well it shouldn’t. After all, I said it myself, the meat and potatoes of this stew we call life is in the experience of it all– right down to the tiniest sprinkle of some new and unfamiliar spice, to the big ladles full of gravy.
I suppose that it is, in the deepest sound of the silence, that our thoughts, fears, senses, and contemplations speak loudest of all. So for now I shall carry on and cherish the flavors, the silence, and all the good stuff in between. Stew anyone?