Tag: quiet

The Ruralist

The older I get, the more I miss the small barely two stoplight town I grew up in. It’s only 60 miles west of me. It’s a place where my father still can’t get land-based broadband internet. It’s where I grew up without cable TV because the cables stopped at the end of my road. And there weren’t enough people to justify running them back to the few houses that sat on acres of land.

J.D. Bentley writes in The Ruralist

The most redeeming quality of big cities is that their people choose to congregate in small, dense areas, leaving the bulk of the earth to the rest of us.

As I’ve entered my third decade on this earth, that line resonates deeply with me. I grew up with cows and deer for neighbors. I grew up without a working knowledge of the Nickelodeon schedule. I grew up in a quiet place. Where I could sit outside and barely hear another sign of humanity. I’d walk in the woods and take long bike rides past apple orchards and corn fields. I relished the silence. The wind in my ears as I raced down hills and pedaled like a maniac up the next.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to move out of the little town. I could not wait to spread my wings in a bigger city. I escaped to Richmond, VA for college and lived there for a several years afterwards. Then I returned home to the outskirts of Washington, DC. First living in Northern Virginia across the river from it, and now in Maryland to its north.

I like the area where I am now. It’s quiet enough it could almost be mistaken for rural. There are deer and rabbits nearby. I pass geese, ducks and the occasional heron (I think?) on my walk to the Metro.

That’s where the illusion ends. When I cross the barrier from wildlife to concrete and board a train descending underneath DC and into the heart of the city.

By day, I am city dweller, though at least I am close enough to the National Mall and Capitol Reflecting Pool I can still enjoy the ducks, green spaces and people-watching.

But I miss the quiet nights. I miss falling asleep to the wind whipping through trees and across open fields. I miss the cows and occasional rooster.

I miss hearing a world not powered by motors and processors.

About Blank

There is something beautiful about about:blank. Go ahead. Type it into your browser window. http://about:blank. What do you see there?


That’s right. Absolutely nothing. It’s a blank page. It’s a white canvas. There is nothing there at all. There are no promises there. There is nothing to live up to. There is nothing. Blank.

In a world that wants to fill every possible space with ads and information, it’s nice to have some solace. It’s nice to have a little digital quiet space.

I like about:blank because it is that quiet space. When I type http://about:blank into my browser, I know what will be returned is nothing. In all it’s peace.

I often use about:blank as my start page. I don’t need to see anything when I open a new window. I don’t need to be overrun with information. I don’t need to have my thought train derailed by a social network or a story waiting for me, or a tempting ad from a start page.

I need a little quiet time. I need a little quiet space. I need some time to think. To consider my next move. My next action is what’s important.

Where am I am going?
What am I doing?
Why did I open this window to begin with?

Sometimes the answer is simply to close the window and walk away.

Vacation Silence

The single thing I have enjoyed most on this vacation has been the silence. As I sit here, the only sound I hear is the whirring of the ceiling fan and the light tap tapping of my fingers on the iPhone screen.

Beyond that, there is silence.

Sunset on the beach

Much of this trip has been spent sitting on the beach, listening to the waves crash and nearby children shriek with delight, reading a book.

I’ve sat with my wife side by side on the beach reading. Every. Now and again reaching for a drink in the cooler. Sometimes reaching over to grasp her hand or caress her shoulder and say *I Love You.*

As I eventually getting warm enough to put the book down and venture into the warm ocean waters, I float among the waves, listening to the sounds of the ocean. I’ve not been happier in a long time.

This was a much-needed vacation. And I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. And most of all, I’ve enjoyed the quiet.

The elusive, blissful quiet.