Quiet. Being a mother of three, my acceptance of noise has raised a decibel or two. (Yes, we resorted to plastic handcuffs to keep the little one from pestering the others and he thought it hilarious). It takes a lot to get my attention.
Parents in general seem to learn their own children’s squeals and ear piercing shrills so on a playground, it sounds like nothing to me. Unless my kid gets injured and I can quickly recognize that voice.
I learned to function in my former career on conference calls shuttling kids from school to practices with up to six kids in the car, while ordering through a drive thru, only to unmute and try and sound intelligent. I have an uncanny ability to tune out unwanted noise.
So on this trip, in the absence of noise, I realized how much I genuinely love the quiet. Not the quiet I’ve tolerated, but the quiet that comes with nature. Water rushing to reach the lake below is awe-inspiring. Knowing all of its momentum lands into the quiet abyss of water pooled is nothing short of a miracle.
Hearing my breath on a bike ride becomes the beautiful beat of the pattern the mallard ducks fly across the elk refuge.
Unnatural noises dissipate in the wild. There is an utter respect of quiet from the world of campers to create an environment of only natural sounds. We heard birds chirping, grass whistling in the wind and water rushing down creek beds. With sometimes more than 100 or so people at a campsite, we would walk out of the airstream and believe we might be the only ones on property. We often were the loudest, especially the night we played a family game of Simon Says one night in Montana, but the laughter was genuine and natural enough.
On any hike we took, we would almost be startled by hikers walking at a quicker pace to pass us, especially when one had a big black dog resembling the size of a small black bear.
Our kids have commented several times across our trip…it is so quiet. There is a deep respect that builds across each day and by the end of this adventure we have all lowered our voices. We have let being quiet become a practice. We have learned to listen for the stillness.
Upon entering the Grand Tetons we take note of a sign blinking with bars of color and see they are performing a noise study.
I can only hope our travel experience creates a natural meter in each of us to pay attention to the noise…or more importantly to give into the quiet that is all around us.
We are headed home. Four of us that is.
So the only noise I’m willing to crank up loud as we make our way to the airport is this…and it makes us all sing loud.
Thank you Keelan Donovan for creating this song, Love of Mine. Our whole family sings along and takes in the absolute surprising beauty of the Tetons. It never gets old, this view, and this song carried us into the mountains every morning on our family adventure. It also prepared us for the quiet moments we experienced exploring the great places of the Pacific Northwest. A little bit of this type of noise can take a family far.
And thank you AC/DC for taking us the final stretch to the Jackson Hole airport like we did every campground.
I’ll take both…the right type of noise and the right type of quiet. I’ll figure out how to balance both a little better now.