This weekend, my family took an excursion to the desert to celebrate Veterans Day. When we drove outside of the campsite, away from the single strip of tarmac, and through the serpentine, dusty roads, it was nearly impossible to avoid the tranquil silence. Not even the breeze dared to interrupt the peacefulness of the desert. There was no sign of human life except for the occasional ribbon of dust from a faraway car on the horizon.
Living in a suburban city entangled in a web of other suburban cities, I almost never get to enjoy absolute quiet. Thoughts are drowned out by the constant hustle and bustle, the buzzing of cellphones, the groaning of cars, the barking of dogs as we try to work on a blog post (I’m looking at you, McDuff, who is currently barking his head off in the other room). It is nearly impossible to keep your mind from wandering from one thing to another. We toil through the day and sleep through the night and we never get to enjoy the simplest joys in life. We never get to sit back and gaze upon the land, never get to rest in absolute tranquility.
My mind is used to running at a hundred cycles a second, always trying to process the information around me, to plan my day, to think about every little detail. But when faced with this empty landscape and total silence, I turned it onto ‘hibernate’ mode and simply stared at the empty desert. The only thought that entered my mind was, “Wow. It is so quiet.” And that was it. I just sat back and enjoyed the serenity.
As our society progresses, we sacrifice things in order to specialize in economic and political gains. We build bustling cities, destroy dense forests, and pollute the air with an endless stream of noise. While I am not completely opposed to the progression of society, I believe that it is important to return to nature once in a while and experience a primal calm that even the deepest massage cannot ever dream of matching.