The Value of Silence

Plane Noise OverheadI live in a city. I am surrounded by man-made sounds all day long. As I sit here, I hear the music from my radio, the fan from the HVAC, not to mention the clickity-clack of my computer keyboard. But, even at night, the sounds don't stop. There is the sound of cars on pavement somewhere, adding to the ever present background noise. And then there are the airplanes. I'm nearly 25 miles from the airport, but that doesn't matter. Plane engines broadcast their sound far and wide, you cannot escape.

In fact, if you have always lived in the city, you will probably feel uncomfortable the first time you experience silence from any man-made noise. I've had that chance, and I loved it. Thank goodness that the National Park Service loves it too. The natural soundscape of parks are to be protected unimpaired for future generations, just like the trees and mountains.

There is a fellow here in the Great Northwest who has a mission to protect the natural quiet. He has a website called One Square Inch of Silence. He records the natural soundscape as a profession, and has found a spot in the Olympic National Park where there was no man-made sound interruption for 15 minutes. His website tells you how to get there (it's in the Hoh Rain Forest, where I used to work). If you can't make it to his quiet place, I hope you can find your own. It's worth the journey.

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