Searching for the good kind of quiet

It’s tough coming back from the wilderness. Without fail, I approach the Bay Bridge and am suddenly side-swiped by complicated emotions.

I’m relieved to see the familiar skyline draped in fog or seared by sunset, the glowing freeway exits and pulsing city lights. Memories emerge– I’m twelve again, squabbling with my brother in Dad’s blue Eurovan after camping in Yosemite, or I’m 22 and sitting in a cube truck full of outdoor educators while broken bluegrass static spews from the radio. Undeniably, I am home.

Seconds later, the reminiscing is tainted with anxiety and slight resentment. The busy mind that enjoyed a quiet break turns on with the whistle of a text message. Suddenly, the world is loudly buzzing its way around me. I cross the bridge and it’s as if my brain can sense it has broken through the gates of the tech capital. It begs me to check text messages (what did you miss?) Facebook (post those pictures! Like what everyone else did!) email (work! personal! must check and respond now!)  Strava (IINOSIDNH) and all other apps that suddenly matter more than anything else.

I’m instantly overwhelmed and over-thinking.

I long for silence, space, and nature. I wistfully wish to be huddled in my sleeping bag, staring at the stars, feeling my body ache with fatigue from the day. In the blink of an eye, I remember the night beforehand, when I laid down, closed my eyes and listened to the trees rustle and the crickets chirp.

I felt grounded.

This was mostly because my body was in full contact with the ground.

Imagine that.

I’ve spent almost every other weekend this summer on a trip, searching for the good kind of quiet. Outside my apartment, the bus stops every 20 minutes. Garbage trucks wake me up in the morning. Echoes of conversations from the wine bar across the street creep their way into my bedroom windows. Cars come to screeching halts. Couples get into fights. People on their phones have impassioned street conversations. There is very little quiet.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m suddenly becoming an old codger who complains about noise. It seems possible that I’m suffering from NDD.

Or, I’d just really like to go here

Regardless, even after four nights in the woods, I’m still searching for a little silence, maybe somewhere a little closer to home.

Let me know if you want to help me find it– we can walk or ride our bicycles there and sit on the ground, close our eyes and enjoy some peace.

And quiet.

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