It seems odd to say that I had missed silence, but it’s true. I didn’t realize how much before a recent trip to the desert.
Valentine’s Day saw me heading out to a place close to Death Valley. I’ve never really been in the desert. I’ve driven through fairly barren places on my way from city to city, but I’ve never intentionally made it a destination.
It was incredible. The colors exploded off the rocks as the sun set, and all around me there was silence. This was real silence. You might think your apartment is quiet, but when you really listen, it isn’t. Mechanical things are actually whirring to life all around you, a bird is chirping somewhere, someone’s dog is barking, and somewhere in the distance someone’s car alarm is going off. Not so in the desert.
I hadn’t realized how much I needed that silence. Part of that silence was, of course, no cell service. No emails. Just us and the sand and the mountains and the hot springs (and some naked people, but that’s another story).
I don’t take to being disconnected well. There was a slight panic that fell over me when I first realized that after Baker there would be no service. In that egocentric way, I thought, “But someone is going to need me, and I won’t be able to help.”
And then I started to calm down. The noise of obligation was dampened right along with the city sounds. The constant buzzing in my brain about which article needs to be written, or whether or not the book is selling enough (however enough is measured these days), went with it. For nearly 24 hours I stopped worrying about money, the state of the world and my weight.
And I just stood there. In the desert. In the silence.