One Minnesota Writer Returns

I struggle with feeling too tied up by everything in our society. Social media, cellphones, requests, demands, expectations, and noise – sometimes the sheer amount of all of it makes me want to run to somewhere untouched by others, somewhere without a cellphone signal, without television, without sales pitches and political campaigns and nudges toward fearing what may never happen while ignoring what is actually scary. It’s not a constant feeling, but one that appears when I feel too busy, when there has been little time for reflection or meditation, especially the reflection needed to write. Especially the meditation needed to be quiet in an always noisy world that never stops arguing.

That’s a rather lofty introduction to why I walk my dog without my cellphone, I suppose. But those thoughts really did roll around in my head this morning while Truffles, my intrepid 10-pound dachshund, and I walked a mile in dark fog before 7:00 a.m., just the two of us. Little traffic flowed that early in the morning, birds chattered, and one large crow faced east on the power lines behind St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. Dogs whose owners sent them into fenced backyards instead of taking them for a morning walk barked at us. Our backyard has no fence; morning walks must be taken daily. I’m grateful for this ritual with this small animal who guards me with her furry little life. I’m grateful for this bit of time, untethered to computer and cellphone and television and obligation. 

I’m grateful for human silence. 

Do other animals get tired of the sounds of their peers? Do they seeks out the sounds of other beings, other environments? Do they head toward silence sometimes?

Silence is a funny concept in some ways. There is nowhere that is absolutely silent; something is always making a sound. I was reminded of that with my current bedtime book, A Year in the Wilderness by Dave and Amy Freeman. The Freemans spent a year living in the Boundary Waters wilderness, witnessing the changing seasons and honoring an area that is in danger of ruination from mining. They weren’t untethered, though; they had solar power packs and computer equipment and cellphones so that they could share their experiences with the world and coordinate supply replenishments. As witnesses, they wanted others to know how important this wilderness is for the health of, well, everything. People can go there to find solace, to get away. Animals who live there have a relatively unspoiled place where they can be free. The skies are dark enough to allow stars to be seen by anyone who looks up without the light pollution that hides so much in urban areas. Funny, light is supposed to expose things but that isn’t the case for stars.

Back to silence. The Freemans heard so many sounds in the wilderness that reminded them it is not actually silent: wolves, storms, ice moving on lakes, birds, their own breath. But the lack of other human sound – that is a sort of silence. 

That is what I am after in the mornings when I walk without my cellphone. A little slice of time away. A few moments in which I can think. A gentler way of easing into the day.

Turns out to be a good way to ease back into blogging, too. I’ve been grateful for leaving behind this bit of weekly commitment, but am glad to be back at it as autumn looms, as mornings are darker and evenings are chillier. I was thinking about One Minnesota Writer this morning as I walked, knew it was time. 

Now that I’m back from my hiatus, look for me on Wednesdays, when I hope to write things that promote that quieter, more meditative side of the writing life.

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

 

 

 

image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

10 Comments

  1. I like silence too, on walks with my two dogs on our quiet rural road and also at home wherever silence can be found. Glad to hear silence brings you peace. May we always preserve quiet places for whoever needs it in our clamoring world.

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  2. I went to Ann Freeman’s talk at REI in Bloomington and followed their blog in the BWCAW. Their work is important to all of us who find that piece of silence precious. I am glad to see you back as I miss reading you from here in Europe. Welcome back.

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  3. Welcome back. I’ve missed your writing. You have a way with words that always seems to comfort me, to offer me peace and hope in this crazy world.

    As a side note, we had no cell service while in southeastern Minnesota bluff country and in the Decorah, Iowa, area last week. It was a bit unsettling at first with no one, not even our “kids,” knowing where we were. But I got over that and just enjoyed the places, the moments.

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    1. Thank you so much, Audrey! I appreciate your kindness. Glad you got over no cell service – it is a bit unsettling when you are used to having the option always. My parents used to take off without telling anyone and they sometimes ended up on the other side of the country just because they could. They would have hated cell phones.

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  4. Silence yields me tinnitus, so quiet with background nature sounds is my thing. I’m lucky in that I have the Big Horn Mountains an hour away, for when I need my big nature fix. At home I don’t even listen to music anymore, craving silence for writing. With the background noise of a fan. When the power goes out, I am keenly aware of the absence of the refrigerator sound. But I never notice it when the power is on. Amazing how our mind compartmentalizes things.

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    1. That’s an interesting take on silence with tinnitus. So nature becomes a different sort of buffer for you. I find I rarely listen to music while writing, but when I’m formatting work, then it’s a nice thing. It was a different life when I had music on all the time. Maybe part of that is becoming comfortable with myself.

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