It is hot and breezy in NYC on these summer mornings. You can smell fried food in the air and the curbs are loaded up with towering trash early in the mornings. The delivery guys have another swig of coffee before they unload and call and shout to the waiting cabs to hold their horses. The garbage trucks all have back-up warning sounds, while the early morning traffic cops blow their whistles, and this cacophony of smell and sound is New York City.
In Vermont the birds are noisy in the mornings as if they are headed off to the office and the kids can’t find their homework or their shoes. They are hungry and they fly around singing and chattering
to one another like a bunch of women in a Starbucks line. The chickens too have a lot to say in the mornings. They lay their eggs early in the day and each egg is cause for much conversation and celebrating. The dogs lazily chase an imagined chipmunk and occasionally bark at nothing much just for the joy of it. And these, are the only sounds, in the mountains. We make most of the noise up here ourselves. Very little of it was already here. Oh, there is the swish of the trees when the wind kicks up in the afternoon. It is a low hum and the leaves whoosh and rustle. Sometimes it is so loud that the dogs bark in response. But sound is a relative thing. In the city that same wind would go unnoticed except for what it did to your hair.
Right now this minute the birds have all flown up to their homes. They are snuggling in since it feels like rain. The air is that sort of motley green it gets sometimes before a big rain, but the trees are absolutely still and the woods are quiet. I sit on my porch and observe this silence. When we lived in the city at the end I ached for some quiet. The sirens and the buses, and the cheerful noise of the delivery vans had started to prick my skin once we’d decided to move. I wanted a stillness that had never been mine, and I thought that I might find it in the quiet of the mountains. I was a classic type a, running around never staying too long anywhere, worrying, fretting, advancing. My overcrowded schedule was a source of misplaced pride. So I gave up wearing a watch the week we moved. It was a symbol. In spite of all the business travel and the meetings and the hustle of the Blackberry world I had to reenter I have never picked up that watch again. It was a lovely thing too. I’d mooned over it for weeks before I’d actually laid down the cash. Now it hangs next to necklaces and bracelets, a silent testament to the commitment I made to myself when we came up here.
And this morning anyway I am keeping it. I don’t always. My heart still pounds and I can feel the worry of being late which I rarely ever am. We gave up our old city problems when we came to Vermont but before long we’d made up a bunch of new ones. Some of them caused my heart to race and fear to follow me to bed. We lost buckets of money and are still recovering. Our life savings evaporated in a trice and we are still paying off the mess that was the horrible quaint country store. ..(It is still hard to believe after buying and selling companies for twenty years it was a little million dollar store that almost took us under) So the lovely quiet didn’t always ease the pounding in my chest. But it is always here to remind me. As I sit in this utter stillness where not so much as a single leaf moves I remember to savor the peace. I inhale it and try to make it mine. My Gram used to say..this too shall pass..about whatever worry was pestering me when I was little. And it does. And this morning as a new batch of worry snuck in I grab big lungfuls of quiet mountain air. I look at the dappled light, creeping through the trees and arguing with the storm truck that wants to make rain. Summer, autumn, winter, spring, and then summer again. Always. Sunshine and rain and snow and sunshine. The rhythms of life continue without our permission. And no matter how much noise we manage to make… when we stop, even for a minute… it is quiet again.
Sound is a relative thing…..