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İOctober 2002

Carol Jane Remsburg



The Quiet







Quiet on a Sunday is something most adults seek as a restorative before facing the next work week ahead; yet a true vacuum would be maddening.  Perhaps it is the lower levels we need to pay our attention to rather than the squawk of the video games or the television. 


Quiet is defined by the absence of sound.  Nature has a way to lull us even when we believe all is silent.  Today is Sunday and for those in my vicinity it is a perfectly sullen, wet, and dreary day.  It's a good day for baking or cooking or watching the television or becoming absorbed a book.  This is a day given over to quiet.  Even for those who pronounce the weather is hideous are secretly glad for a day of escape.


Yet all is not quiet.  The road isn't teaming with loud vehicles streaming by; neither tourist nor local.  Occasionally there is a rumble of an old grain truck as it grumbles by straining under its load of corn.  The few passenger vehicles that do pass tend to go by unnoticed; their passing somehow muffled amid the overcast. 


Everything here is finally green again now that the rains have returned and it's a funny thing well into October this greening-up just as all ought to be fading into the sunset fires of red, gold, rust, and dun.  The first chill still hasn't arrived as we continue to muddle about trying to regain our bearings.  And while the sky is grey, the trees, the grass, and even the weeds are vibrantly green.  It's a jarring sort of affront to the eyes when on days like this all ought to be muted.  Beneath the surface nothing is muted.


All it takes is a slow stroll out the back door and into the damp.  It's cool but not chilly; damp but not raw.  Initially what draws the eye is the near electric green of the yard, pearled and shimmery with rain droplets.  To the senses all is calm but there are underlying forces at work.  Once outside the low thrum of the crickets is inevitable.  The birdsong, though muted, is still there along with the loud indignant interjections of the jays. 


A few steps slower and listening harder, is the busy buzz of the bees still active upon the daisy-like weeds growing riotously along the tax ditch at the edge of the yard.  Closer yet shows not just the bumble bees but other types of bees and butterflies and a few wasp-like creatures sampling the last nectar of the season before the cold comes.  They are singing the praises of this late harvest amid the damp and the cool.  They are rejoicing that their work is nearly done and the intense heat and drought has abated. 


It is their song of quiet that most often people miss as we go about preoccupied in the artificial worlds we've manufactured for ourselves.  The busy bees and bugs and the plants know no respite or rest yet it seems they are joyous just the same. 


The quiet we are gifted with usually is wrought by nature and not by ourselves and when that happens not, we attempt to create it with nature sounds CDs, noise-reducing walls, scheduled in appointments for quiet time.  When we are lucky, they happen naturally just as nature intended.



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