Monday, April 10, 2017

The Last Trail: In Pursuit of Eagles and Silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.... We need silence to be able to touch souls.  ~Mother Teresa
The last trail trek Ben and I explored was in February, on one of those unseasonably warm days when you think, "Yeah, we all gon' die from climate change."  There's a state park near us called Mason Neck where you can walk along the shoreline of the Potomac River and take in some really amazing views. The wooded portion of the park has become renown for its bird-watching. 

I'm not a bird-watcher. In fact, many birds terrify me, and not just because of Alfred Hitchcock's ability to turn this species into creatures who would jump at the chance to blot out the whites of every human eyeball. Last year, whenever I'd take Burton out onto our back deck to listen to the morning birdsong in trees behind our yard, BLUE JAYS and some bird with an orange stomach would dive-bomb us every time.  I like my birds to be a little less aggressive.  

Fortunately, during our short walk from the Potomac River shore at Mason Neck park to an area where several bald eagle's nests are hidden a little deeper in the trees, we never had to cower from crew of birds crouching on phone lines, or protect our eyeballs from some angry (birds? lol) blue jay.  






Now, I'm a loud talker. I've been told to be quiet or keep my voice down by at least 10 people throughout my life. I'm just not soft-spoken and I don't have a good internal Decibel reader.  And on every hike, and even camping trip, I get so excited about...THINGS...the things of life and being with my favorite people in nature...that sometimes I yell-talk.  But that's not exactly recommended when you're in a bird watching environment like Mason Neck.

The end of our trail brought us to what looked like an open air hut, used for sitting, watching and waiting for sight of a cruising bald eagle, or something else.    



In the middle of my yell-talking about work or what I wanted to accomplish while 30, Ben had to tell me to cool it because there were actually signs everywhere asking for quiet.  There was even another man near the bird blind taking professional photos of smaller birds flying out over the creek just beyond the bird blind.  So, out of mostly embarrassment, I immediately shut up, and gave the photog a sticky closed mouth "Sorryscusemeeee" smile.



I climbed the bird blind to sit next to Ben and look out over the water, wishing I could have at least finished my yell-talking because I was in the middle of a sentence.  But then something happened.  I noticed that where we were was incredibly quiet and incredibly peaceful.


***
I recently saw this movie with a friend: In Pursuit of Silence


It was really good and provoked all the thoughts about noise, nature, when it's a good time to be silent (in the "biting your tongue" sense) and when it's a good time experience silence. The moral of the story: We should experience silence as often as we can.

I've written on here about my love of meditation, but to be honest, I haven't been practicing it as much as I should.  And I do feel, because of my inconsistencies in this area, I've lost my connection so a peace I once had. The past few months have really wrecked me emotionally, and that's why I haven't been writing as often.  But two weeks ago, I made a decision to spend more time in silence and being silent. No phone, no headphones, no books. Just me, and my thoughts. Usually some background noise coming from somewhere but that's to be expected.  And what's happened: I've cried, a lot, and I've become inspired again. Inspired to write and to continue exploring this world, life and routine of living with a chronic illness and learning to be OK with it.