3/16/09

The Sound of Silence

One of the things that strikes me most about where I live now, is the ability I have to be surrounded by total silence when I am outdoors.

This weekend we went geocaching again, around the Texas Oklahoma border and got out into some really beautiful countryside. Where we live is itself just a very small town (pop. 400) in this area, surrounded by open country in all directions.

Out here the roads just go for miles crossing the horizon, perfectly straight. This road is between the towns of Higgins and Follett in Texas and is literally this straight for 18 miles!! Coming from England where unless you're in Milton Keynes it would be impossible to find a straight road over a mile long, this still blows my mind! The whole time we travelled this road we only passed ONE VEHICLE in 18 miles, and that's midday on a Saturday! In England I could go out at 3 AM and pass more vehicles.

When I first moved here all this open empty space actually made me extremely nervous. It took me a few weeks to venture to the nearest large town 25 miles away alone. I worried about what would happen if I broke down out in the middle of nowhere, could I trust anyone who stopped to help me, would anyone even pass me? This was undoubtedly a hangover from coming from such a highly populated and developed area of England. There you would seriously think twice before knocking on a strange door for help.

But here everyone knows everyone else, or is related to them in some way. The Hubster reassured me that wherever I asked for help, they would know him or his business and I had no need to worry. It took awhile but now I know this is true and I myself know people in all the towns surrounding us.

But more than anything, the thing that regularly amazes me is the absolute sound of silence to be found here. You can literally stand outside in many places just a couple of miles outside town and hear nothing but the breeze!

There is no traffic at all to speak of, the locals think there is, but when you've come from England there really is NO traffic out here. If the Hubster and I pass more than a dozen vehicles then we'll joke with each other about 'the traffic'. He also appreciates the lack of traffic having travelled around England with me in a car!

The other big reason it's so silent is the lack of any air traffic overhead. If a plane does go over, people will stop in their tracks to see what it is. We get the occasional light aircraft or military jet on a training exercise, but the most frequent air traffic is the Air-Evac Helicoptor from the local hospital and that's not often.

The cemetery above was just beautiful, in the middle of nowhere and so peaceful, truly a place of rest. The horses had a highway alongside their field and would prick their ears at the occasional vehicle passing by, but theirs is a peaceful life too.

But the spot where I took the picture of the field above was truly well off the beaten track, up unpaved country roads. I got the Hubster to stop and I climbed up into the bed of our Pickup to take pictures. It was just breathtakingly beautiful and all I could hear was the breeze and the grass gently swishing. I just soaked it all up, felt so relaxed stress free and fully appreciated the quality of the life I have here.

I often hear the local kids say they can't wait to leave here and get to the big cities. I tell them they should go and experience other places and styles of living. But I also tell them that I have been there and done that in bigger cities than they can imagine, and truly you would never get me to return to my old life. I understand there isn't much for them out here, but you don't always appreciate what you have at the time, only discovering it's true value when it's gone.

I am really looking forward to our holiday in Chicago in the summer as I miss the city. But I already know that by the time we get home I will be longing for the endless horizons, breathtaking beauty of this open coutryside and more than anything, the sound of silence.

16 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think cemetaries should be in the middle of nowhere. It adds to their tranquil atmosphere.

We have many roads around here which I wouldn't like to travel down on my own for fear of breaking down.

CJ xx

Sherri said...

Quiet is a good thing!

Expat mum said...

Definitely bring your ear plugs. As soon as the weather warms up Chicagoans are outside all the time! 24/7. It was the St. Patrick's Day celebration on Saturday which meant young kids hanging out in bars all day then drunkenly saying loud goodbyes on every street corner at three in the morning. Grr.

Housewife Savant said...

Beautiful post. Lovely photos. Ahh...

Sandi McBride said...

Believe it or not Sarah, these are concerns for Americans, too lol...having lived in large cities like Tampa and DC, Cleveland and Phillie...Charleston and the like...going to my grandparents and hearing the sounds of Silence kept me awake for weeks on end during my summer vacations...and now that we have retired to the boonies, it's not much different for me..hence the fan that runs at my bedside even now! I'm glad you're becoming accustomed to the big outdoor spaces, though!
Sandi

ciara said...

i couldn't live in the country. i'd go stir crazy. i live in a town w nothing but lots of houses and we go 10 mins into next city for things. at least i have that. lol sure is pretty though :)

Daryl said...

I am often astounded by the silence in the countryside when I visit friends with homes in rural areas of Connecticut or Vermont .. and having driven from Denver to Boulder I can attest to the overwhelming vast openness that does indeed make one nervous .. OTOH I love NYC have lived here all my life .. and while I understand how the late teens/20-somethings long for something different/new/exciting ... and they need to do that .. and then come home and appreciate what they left behind.

Dave said...

Great pics. I know what you mean about the silnce on the plains. I have experienced it here and it is both eerie and fantastic all at the same time. SOunds like you live in a great part of the country!

Jill of All Trades said...

Oh my gosh I love the cemetary picture. That is just beautiful and peaceful. I am having that outdoor peace and quiet now and for the next few days.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

You do live in a gorgeous area, Sarah. when George and I travel, we are happier FAR AWAY from traffic and people. Luckily we do live in a small town ---and don't have many traffic or people problems. Thanks be to God for that!!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Winifred said...

Lovely pictures Sarah.

That first photo reminded me of the film North by North West where Cary Grant is stranded and a plane starts to dive on him. Yes it does look scary, just like the film. So vast and flat. Oooh er!

pamokc said...

Girl, I am glad you appreciate what you have because it is indeed special. You couldn't have picked a life so unlike London. Now, these scenes (except for the traffic) might be rural England, but that traffic in England is always there. Always. Always.

Rob Inukshuk said...

I'm not sure I could live somewhere so remote and quiet, breathtakingly beautiful as it is. I'm a city boy at heart. I do think it's wonderful that you have adapted to your new quiet, peaceful and stunningly beautiful world so well.

Snippety Gibbet said...

The thought of hearing wind swishing around, without the additional faraway echo of the DC Beltway, sounds meditative.

Tabitha said...

It definitely is different being back in the city with all the noise of helicopters, airplanes, sirens, etc. The thing about the country that most amazed me, though, was the darkness at night and all the stars you could see without the light pollution of a city!

Rhea said...

OK, I'm jealous.