It’s super quiet here in Halibut Cove, but the quiet is bigger somehow than just sound. You can feel it too, the quiet. It’s in the ground, and in the water, and in the forest. Sound is part of it. I could hear the water trickling off of the sea lettuce and off of the mudflats in rivulets into the cove at low tide. The creak of a hinge on a dock somewhere, a half-mile away. It’s a stark contrast, and I realized today that the environment here makes Homer look, and feel, like a metropolis.
I realized how much noise, constant noise and busyness we live with on a daily basis at home. And I realized that my brain is moving at a different pace than it was designed to move in places like this. I think of myself – correctly or incorrectly – as pretty mellow, slow-paced, laid back, call it what you will. That’s at home. But here, I am not that, not because I have changed, but because life is different. I am still somewhere in the middle, while life has gone from fast to slow. And something in me… misses it, this organic way of being. So today I notice a huge disparity in the paces; internally, and externally, like the ground beneath me has almost stopped moving, or is moving to an alien rhythm, even while I realize that it is my own internal rhythm that has become alien, foreign, unnatural, causing me to almost lose traction, or something. It’s hard to describe. Abrupt might be a good word.
I walked the property today, and beyond, for most of the morning. They call this kind of environment sub-arctic rain forest, and it is certainly that. Moss and ferns are everywhere. It’s quiet, but if you sit for a bit then the place comes alive with critters and their chirps and peeps and clicks. The protestations of a particularly peeved squirrel was a trumpet alarm, startling, in the quiet of the forest.
There is a difference between sound, and noise. It’s not the lack of sound that makes it quiet here. There is plenty of sound, if you listen closely enough. Life is whispering everywhere. It’s the lack of noise that makes it quiet. I think the distinction is an important one.
I walked until I was done, then went down to the dock/deck and sat for a while, listening to the small sounds; the splash of an otter diving, the ripples lapping the shore, the rustle of the breeze in the yellow-leaved aspen.
The tides here are also something to see, even something to watch, because every six hours, they change high to low, and do so with huge contrast; a normal swing of the tides here is 20 vertical feet. It’s not just going out 20 feet, it’s going up and down 20 feet. Every six hours. So in places like this, people plan their transportation around the tides. They travel, at least by boat, primarily at high tide. After walking the forest, I walked out on the rocky flats of sea lettuce today at a very low tide, walked up the bay a bit, watching and listening to and feeling the water move. I knew when it turned and started to come in. There is a tremendous volume of water involved in a 20 foot tidal shift. Coming in at 3-4 vertical feet an hour, this seemed like a good time to turn around and head back. My path would be under 15 feet of water soon enough.
By then it was early afternoon, and I rested for a while. Lots of walking today. And the afternoon crept by. Time is funny here, because it stays light later, so I lose track a bit, here, thinking its earlier than it is. Time is also funny because it’s… different here. Time has a different feel to it. But that might be because my relationship with it is different, here. It’s a different thing to relate to here. It’s not defined or confined to clocks and schedules. Time does its own thing, undefined, indifferent, at peace with itself somehow. There is no need to struggle with time here. I am remembering, vaguely, what that might mean.
I know that today’s post is different, and may make little or no sense whatsoever. Which is ok. I write it so that I can remember, when I forget, these subtle things that are built in, inherent, important, yet so easily lost in the din of the day-to-day.