A quiet moment with Shinazy
It’s quiet. The first winter storm just passed but the sky holds onto its grey while the redwood needles pretend that the raindrops continue to fall. I’m in Butano, a coastal mountain hamlet, only minutes away from San Francisco. There’s no sense of civilization here. No motor sounds, no whirr of industry or consumption.
The rain has stopped long enough for the worms and bugs to wiggle onto the bed of decomposing brown and green. On the edge of my vision a flutter of wings – birds seeing their evening meal. They scurry to swallow before their neighbor. It looks like dancing; some wild choreographed stomping of tiny Irish River Dancers.
In this dense forest a crow or black bird or raven sounds the coming of Goliath. On cue the tiny dancers stop, heads still until some unspoken note signals them to zoom away. How is it that there are no head-on collisions? The damp ground is now empty.
I hear it coming, breaking the quiet – the caw loudens. Like the landing of a jet fighter the crow is on the ground, a centennial guarding the nude dirt. But he must hear something my human ears do not because he suddenly starts to drill holes. Is he finding the retreating bugs and worms?
The false tree rain stops and now the branches are light enough for the breeze to move them, a new sound to pause the silence. I can actually hear the tones the difference leaves make as they rustle against each other.
The sun must be setting. The sky is still the same pale grey, but the distant trees are black. And the nothingness approaches. I can no longer distinguish one redwood from another. I can only see the autumn colors of the Manzanita that grows near the porch. Night is coming. Even the crow is gone.
I’m here to escape the never-ending din of the city. I felt my ears and mind were always being assaulted. I needed to reconnect with nature. In this quiet I hear … something: my thoughts, time, imaginary sounds. I only know life with noise, so in this stillness I hear what may not be there.
Evening is settling.
The next storm is coming – new sounds for me to hear while I escape into the quiet.
photo by shinazy and luchilu
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