A few days ago we went for a ride into the hills of Western Maine to see a cabin that we were considering renting for a vacation next Summer. When we arrived, the owner met us at the property to show us around the beach, wooded acreage, and three cabins nestled into a private cove.
As we got out of the car and walked toward the sandy stretch in the photograph above, we immediately noticed the quiet. There were no other sounds but ours. Then, as if on cue, a Loon started its cry from about fifty yards out in the lake. It called to us a few times, bobbed down into the water, resurfaced and moved on. It struck me that I could hear this loon so clearly because of the lack of any other sounds. Remarkable.
Now, my cherished avenue is very quiet; we are lucky to live on a dead-end street in an undisturbed neighborhood. But this is different; this is a natural world away from the rest, frequented only by gentle spirits who appreciate the tranquil woods and calm waters.
There are lots of trees, small natural gardens, and only a few signs of Mankind: three cottages built of Cedar logs, a fire pit, and several wooden picnic tables. There is also a small shed next to a stack of canoes, kayaks, and rowboats. No motors. Noiseless water travel.
None of this is news to many of you who have sought a vacation in the woods, backpacked in the wilderness, or lived far from civilization. I have trekked on the John Muir trail at somewhere over 13,000 feet, hiked up the Russian River in Alaska, and camped near Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. So, I know this in not a new concept. Having said that, I was so taken by this wooded glen and this pristine pond, that it made me reflect anew on what Nature holds. There are the intoxicating scents of the woods, the welcoming quality of the clean air, and the incredible softness of the pond’s water.
I walked into one of the cedar cabins with its knotty-pine walls, and was immediately transported back to my grandparents’ country home in New Hampshire. The smell of pine everywhere and the clear air sent me soaring to Ball Hill in Milford, where I spent most of my childhood holidays. I remembered how it felt to be living among the trees, priming the ancient pump, and gathering sticks for the fireplace. I loved it there.
The absolute stillness caught me off guard. We are so accustomed to all the noise of the twenty-first century, that we have become inured to it. Telephones, cars, appliances, construction, traffic, sirens, machinery, buses, television, computers…..and my personal favorite…..wait for it………LOUD PEOPLE!!!! This place is literally off the grid; there are none of the previously mentioned annoyances.
We will be spending a week here on vacation next year. I will be out of touch with, as Joni Mitchell wrote, “the breakdown of this century”. I am sure that I will be writing about many new topics, and I am already creating a list of adjectives: hushed, still, restful, unfettered, sleepy, peaceful………