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Looking For Quiet
Published on July 15, 2013 by Sara Foss

In her weekly column Greenpoint, my colleague Margaret Hartley writes about the elusiveness of real quiet.

Here's an excerpt:

Trying to find some true quiet, the dog and I took a walk before the sun was up last week. A few birds were already awake, but the full morning chorus had not yet started. One of our roosters was working on a solo.

Down by the pond, a bullfrog was clanking. Across the street in a poplar tree, the nest of baby woodpeckers was silent, which meant that the parents were still in bed instead of flying in and out with breakfast.

A car passed, the lovely woman who brings me my newspaper every morning, and we waved.

No other vehicles were out — no logging trucks, no commuters, not even the early morning fisherman who stops first at the beach and then at the point around 6 every morning, casting for about 10 minutes at each place. I don’t think he’s looking for dinner. I think he’s looking for quiet.

Quiet and darkness are two things we don’t have enough of in our modern world. And by darkness I mean dark enough to view the light show of the night sky — the absence of artificial light.

Same with quiet. I don’t mean silence, the lack of all sound, but the absence of human-created noise. I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to find a place where no motors hum, where no trucks rumble, where no TVs or radios blare, where no airplane interrupts the bird song. A place where you can just listen to the natural world: a running stream, last night’s rain dripping off the trees, the gurgle of a turkey or the splash of a landing duck.

I guess it’s noisier in the summer, with Jet Skis on the lakes and generators in the woods. Traffic picks up as visitors drive around for the scenery, or to bring boats to the lakes, or to head to their camps. They come for the quiet, maybe not knowing they are stealing the quiet as they come.

Click here to read the whole thing.

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