“Stop children, what's that sound?” the words of of the group “Buffalo Springfield” often come to mind as I pause to take in my surrounding. But then I recall the rest of the song. Perhaps Pete Seeger's “Seventy miles of wind and spray, seventy miles of water, seventy miles of ocean bay...”. But that doesn't work either—the next words are “—it's a garbage dump.” Ther must be a song out there that captures the quiet I feel when I take walks, a quiet I crave, without a damper at the end. Though urban life this day and age does put a damper on the beauty in the silence.
My neuropsychologist told me that now my brain has to work harder than it did in the past. Hence the ever present fatigue. I need the quiet, more than I ever did since the brain bleeds. It gives my overworked brain a much needed respite, a time to regroup and reboot, so that I can continue functioning from day to day.
Paddling with my dragon boat team, I felt empowered, strong. I reveled in the adrenaline rush—I saw races as the culmination of all that was good about dragon boating, the motivation behind the grueling practices.
I forgot about the quiet.
When I had to quit paddling because of shoulder injuries that weren't healing, I expected to miss that fierce joy. I expected to feel frustrated, to feel the need to replace the sport with another adrenaline filled activity. But I didn't.
I came to the realization that really, more than anything, I miss the quiet on the water, paddling silently through a heavy fog, drifting downstream gazing spellbound at deer dancing in the shallows, watching for “our” blue heron. When I think of replacing dragon boat racing with another water sport, leisurely canoeing or kayaking come to mind.
Now, I enjoy quiet hikes through the nearby nature reserve, watching for deer tracks, listening for the woodpeckers. I love strolling along the river, every so often pausing to breathe in the continually moving ripples. I delight in taking my grand-dog, Gus, for walks, following his lead as he meanders from one intriguing smell to the next.
The quiet is not merely a break for my hard working brain. It also fills a deep need within me. A need I only occasionally addressed in my previous life. A need I was not truly aware of in my past.