Silence is a rare treat. I enjoy music and witty repartee just as much as the next guy, but silence is revelatory. At home and in hotels I sleep to the sound of a white noise generator. You can’t predict the sounds of neighbors, and my hours are askew from those of the rest of the world. Here at the lake, things are different. I awake early, hoping to catch the sun as it trips over the mountain tops across the way, lighting successive peaks before it reaches the near horizon. It is utterly still. Perhaps it’s the interference of humans in the habitat, but crepuscular animals seldom wander past. The stillness is divine. For some the lake means loud jet skis and buzzing motorboats. I come here seeking silence.
Our daily lives lack peace. Even when things are good there are always more things to be done. We cram as much as possible into days impossibly short, giving at least eight out of every twenty-four to those who deign to pay us for our efforts. Sleep is troubled and interrupted. There are noises in the night. You can’t hear your soul. As the first rays seep into the valleys across the lake the birds begin to greet it. Their conversation may interrupt the silence, but it doesn’t break it. Silence is finding one’s place in nature. Taking time to be still. To listen.
Thirty years ago I first came to the lake. My wife had been coming here for years already before that. There have been many changes even in my short time here. I can, however, hear eternity in the silence, for forever is a whisper, not a shout. As I watch the morning mist arise, skate, and dance over the surface of the water as still as the very mountains that cradle it, I strain my ears to catch any sound. The twirling wraiths are as silent as they are ephemeral. They spin away the last minutes before the whine of an early morning fisherman’s boat begins its sleepy journey to the deep water in the middle of the lake, herald of other daylight noises to come. I will await tomorrow’s unction of silence, and although the baptism may be secular it’s redemptive after all. Nature knows far more about the human soul than any measurements might reveal. You only have to listen to hear it.