Recently, I went on a hike near our home. It was a gorgeous day trip with my sister celebrating our birthdays and another year of life together.
As we climbed our way up the mountain, there was plenty of chatting and laughing. There were the comments about the lovely Manzanita bushes and pine trees cohabitating beautifully. There was the conversation about aging (yikes!), raising teenaged kids and living peaceably with our husbands. With only a handful of other humans nearby, it felt almost as if the mountain was ours for the taking.
Since we are getting old –ahem- we had to stop now and then to rest. We made these stops meaningful by looking at the scenery and marveling. At one of these moments, I exclaimed (in a bossy little sister kind of way), “Stop talking!” And we did. We just stood in the middle of the trail. Silent. That’s when I heard something I hadn’t in a long time- a quiet that transcends even the quietest moment at home or work.
With three children, a husband, a cat, a dog and my job at an elementary school, quiet is a rarity for me, especially THIS kind of quiet. It resounded in my ears in a rather oxymoronish kind of way. It enveloped me, mind and body.
What we do not realize is how downright noisy our lives are. Even in the most silent moments, there is the ever-present din of white noise- the buzz of the refrigerator, the soft hum of electronics, the ticking clock. Then there are the “people and pet” sounds. We are a noisy bunch! Video game sounds (think machine guns and zombies), music (think teenaged kids blasting stuff I am not a fan of), talking, talking, talking, the dog barking, the cat meowing, the exhaust fans, the heating/ac unit cycling on and off, etc. My ears are filled to the brim sometimes.
I crave quiet. We as humans, especially those answering to the call of “mom”, need to get quiet. Just like a plant needs both water and sunlight to survive, we were created to thrive in the noise of other people and things. If not for those, we become weird hermit -like creatures. Yet, we must also have the renewal of a quiet that feeds the soul and nourishes the mind- the kind that envelopes us in a haven of rest, like the silence of that rocky hiking trail.