We deal with change all the time. Day changes into night. Our body changes from hungry to full. Seasons change.
But if the cycle is predictable in many ways it may be comforting. Change can be, in the wider scheme of things like fractals. The farther away is your perspective, the more the overall pattern emerges.
Change within sameness in comforting. Change, anticipated, is satisfying.
As we move from summer into fall, I’m ready to break out the new school-year crayon box. I’m swinging into Starbucks for the pumpkin spice latte. I see geese flying a V overhead and feel a crispness in the air.
So when you say, “I hate change,” figure out what it is that is so disturbing. You may be surprised.
What does change mean to you? What is the most terrifying change you’ve ever experienced? The most satisfying?
Noise is on my mind recently. I’m convinced that we endure too much of it in honor of our existence here on earth.
Sometime it is the raucous chatter of politicians or the screech of advertising pushing aside real words to gain our attention for the mundane. At other times, it may be the scream of fire engines down the street or the roar of the motorcycle taking off.
When this happens too often, we dial down our senses and become numb to our world.
Let me give you an example:
For the past three weeks, city crews have been replacing the sewer lines in front of my house.
And then replacing the water lines and storm drains.
And tearing out the sidewalks with big dozers so that they can be replaced with NEW sidewalks.
When I asked the crew chief how old the sidewalks were they were replacing he replied, “Older than dirt.” I feel a kinship.
Each morning I set the alarm early so that I can dash out and move the car in order for it not to be blocked by the construction. Each day’s construction begins at precisely 7:04am with the beep-beep of yellow machines determined to disintegrate my solitude. Enormous tamper machines vibrate the very foundations of my home.
A blogging friend, Coffee Kat, writes a post about diminished hearing and I can totally relate.
One of my cats hides under the coffee table, seeking asylum from the noise and commotion. The other one sleeps through it all.
Today, though, all was quiet, except for one small bulldozer pushing dirt around aimlessly, like a kid on a playground after everybody goes home. For the first time in weeks, I could hear my refrigerator gurgle. I could catch snippets of my neighbor’s radio playing. A cardinal sang in the tree outside my window. Real sounds, at normal decibel levels. Pure bliss.
Then the noise began again. A man pounded orange stakes in the ground outside my front window to mark where the new sidewalks will be poured. He says the crews will lay the foundations tomorrow, and the cement trucks arrive the day after.
I feel rebellion setting in. I yearn to flee to the tiny Greek island of Budelli, where the caretaker has lived, alone, for 28 years, listening to the sounds of silence. What would that peaceful calm feel like, I wonder?
We need silence in our lives in order to function as human beings. As Wordsworth once wrote,
…Again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.—Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
Without silence and solitude, our souls wither and our spirit diminishes. We begin to tune out what is really important to us. We don’t live, we merely walk around.
Has this ever happened to you? What was the noisiest situation you’ve ever encountered?
I often visit Oak Creek Canyon in the summer to dip my feet in the creek at Ensinoso Falls. Because Oak Creek is spring fed, its waters are always breath-stoppingly cold, a welcome refreshment on a summer’s day!
This year because of the Slide Fire, all of Oak Creek Canyon is closed to visitors, so I drove to the East Verde Valley to encounter Wet Beaver Creek instead.
When I arrived the park was deserted. The camp host was nowhere to be seen. Even his hammock was empty!
The camp cat gave me a sniff before she deserted me for better pickings elsewhere.
As I walked down to the Creek, I spotted first one abandoned sock:
Then two more, nestled like wooly caterpillars among the rocks:
The sound of water roaring, roaring, roaring, told me why no one was sun-bathing today:
The heavy monsoons upstream had caused high waters, swiftly running, muddy, churning. No swimming today in the floods:
The currents pushed against logs, turning them over in its eagerness to move forward, and the water knife-edged into white water:
Where the water eddied, it created not ponds for wading, but entire lakes:
In side pools, the shadows reflected in water holding its breath for a moment:
And in one special place the foam had created a pattern as clear as a thumb print:
If you visit a place with expectations, you may be disappointed.
If you visit with an open mind, the world can be full of surprises.