True, indeed. Peace comes dropping pretty darn quick when you’ve managed to get out of town and past the traffic and at last you’re in the woods, down the dirt road and up the gravel drive, and you’ve stomped the snow off your shoes and undone the gate to the front door and inside you’re arranging a fire and outside through the windows the trees are angular and bare and how about let’s put up some coffee?
As for crickets singing and evenings full of the linnet’s wings—well, not this time of year. This time of year the precious gift of the woods is silence. Which is not to say that the neighbors’ dogs don’t roam in packs and howl a little, or that sometimes when you least want them to, dirt bikers don’t roar down the dirt road and toss their empties in among the trees.
But overall it’s perfect. Not lavish, but then Yeats wasn’t talking about lavish. I’ve got cable and a stereo and a cell phone. The delight is that when I turn them off—and I often do—what I get to hear is . . . nothing.
The appeal of silence is deep. In the silence the usual mental chatter subsides—not without a fight—but it subsides, and you don’t need to be a writer to feel as if you could write. Or read. Or nap. Or eat. All without the distractions and the unsorted, unloaded dumpster of trivia that is built into everyday life.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
The deep heart’s core is where I’ve been this past January weekend. I share that with you not to make you envious, but as a kindred spirit.