It is the strangest thing, right now. I am in SouthWest Texas and the year is nearly done. I am sitting outside as I type. It is overcast and very light sprinkles have been teasing me for the last couple of hours. Just a hint here and there, yet not enough to push me inside. Not yet, anyway. I am, for the first time in a long time, in utter and total silence. It is glorious, refreshing, and oddly mesmerizing.
This park was recommended by a ranger from Sea Rim State Park. He said it was one of his favorites and I can see why. It is remote, quiet, lots of trails and exploring. There are animals all over and birds in abundance. There are even hills, which I have not seen in months. I am in the walk-in section so that I can save a couple bucks. I paid for it physically by hauling my gear several dozen yards. There is a compostable toilet and water, but no power. I am alone and at least 1/4 mile from the developed sites. I have not been in the quiet in some time and I finally slept last night. Sure, I was up before the sunlight, but I actually slept undisturbed for several hours. That felt really good.
The days are still short, with night falling around supper time and daylight just before 7:00. I have heard airplanes way up in the sky and one shotgun shot. No other sounds of people. I hear several different kinds of birds and watched a couple jackrabbits play chase. I hear the wind. I seem very loud to myself, after so much noise at my last couple of camps. Does the Gulf of Mexico count as noise? I suppose, but it is soothing in it’s own special way. It is, though, still noise. I prefer silence.
I can hear the ringing in my ears as I work to adjust to a world of subtle sounds. The noise of my typing is like a herd of buffalo on the plains. I did not realize how much I missed this, the quiet, the solitude, the ability to hear and smell nature in such a pristine setting. Texas has a very woody smell, with a hint of skunk and BBQ if my nose does not deceive me. Though rain is close at hand, I cannot smell the usual moisture of the clouds. I never imagined I would be sitting outside at the end of December, typing in my camp chair, stopping to sip my tea or listen to a rustle in the bushes. This is amazing.
In recent years, I would be in my house in my former college town. This time of year was fraught with silence and quiet, as the bulk of the population would leave. There were always some of us still in town, but the streets were fairly empty, the stores and restaurants easily accessible and welcoming. It was a fun time for me, as I was also off work for a mandatory vacation. That never bothered me, either, being forced not to work when there was so little to do anyway.
My neighborhood was quiet, which meant my house was quieter. The town felt like it was mine to explore. I felt like I had the place to myself and that was fun. In the mornings I would sit in my living room with my Christmas tree lit up, enjoy a fire in the fireplace and watch the snowflakes fall. It was generally snowing at some point in this reprieve. In the evenings, if it was snowing, I liked to go on a walk. I loved the quiet of the snow, the lack of cars and other people, the solitude given to me. Lovely!
This camp has that same feeling. Of course, and thankfully, there is no snow falling. I did not start a fire this morning due to the possibility of rain. But, I will at some point. I am just sitting and watching and listening. I have my morning tea, I am cozy and warm. I feel much like I did during the quiet winters of my previous life. I feel like I want to feel in my next life. I am enjoying this feeling right here and right now in this life. THIS feeling I must retain.
One day, when I am place bound in that next life and it is December 27th, I will be in a place with snow and in my own home on my own property. I will be, again, snuggled up with my morning tea in front of a fire. I will have my blankets and my snuggly clothes on. I will watch the snow fall and listen to the fire pop and crackle. I will be warm and sated. I will slowly but surely prepare for my day and relish in a life that I have created. I will relish in the sounds and smells of that world. I will let contentment wash over me. I will embrace the sound of silence, of contemplation, of gratitude. I will feel home.
Cheers to the quiet times in your world!