"They told Samuel about the chaos of towns that they'd escaped. There were noises - hammers clanging at blacksmith forges, chickens clucking, dogs barking, cows lowing, horses whinying and whickering, people who always seem to need to be talking to one another.
There wasn't noise in the forest.
There were smells: woodsmoke filled the air in every season because it wasn't just for heat,but to cook as well;the smell of oak for long fires, pine for short and hot and fast fires. The smell of bread and... the odor of stew cooking in the cast-iron pot over an outside fire or in an iron kettle hung in the fireplace, the scent flying up through the chimney and out over the ground as the wind moved the smoke around." Woods Runner Gary Paulsen
I didn't get any farther in this book that the above quote, 5 pages in, and I had to stop reading to think about it. The words are meaningful to me. It reminds me of just how loud and noisy everything in my world is. All the time. And how much I hate noise. I have become terribly noise-sensitive the older I get, but I know it isn't just an age-thing. And I know that I am hyper-sensitive, but that doesn't really help, either, just the knowing. I just appreciate silence so much more than noise of almost any kind. It's also funny that those noises which Samuel's parents found chaotic, back in the middle 1700's, the noises of animals and blacksmiths, specifically, are noises that I could easily live with today. It's the noises of cell phones, ipods, radios and tv's blaring constantly ANY place you go - stores, doctors' offices, restaurants, malls, almost anywhere, that I just can't handle. Even my own house is noisier than it needs to be. It seems that the TV is always on (not by my choice) and that, in addition to that as background noise, then we add layers on top of that - youtube videos on the computer, talking on the phone or the ringing phone being ignored, and talking, talking, talking, sometimes, many times, more than one person at a time. I love the rare weekend at my house when everyone else is gone - and the TV and radio remain off the entire weekend, and the only noise is that from the world outside my front door (well that and 4 barking dogs, which also can get annoying in a short amount of time, but them I can send out in the back yard to play and cease the majority of their shrill yipping at a stray dog or cat they've spied through the front windows of the house).
I just don't understand our obsession with noise. I don't understand why more people don't appreciate, if not silence, then at least quiet. I don't understand why so many people feel the need to just talk, nonstop, all the time. I literally have a very short attention span for listening to people talk - unless it is a quiet, one on one type of meaningful conversation. People who want to read you their latest "tweets" or their entire cell phone text conversation with another friend, I just don't have the ability to listen politely to, and feign interest. It's not because I'm not interested in that person, just that my capacity for what my brain deems "meaningless" noise grows less and less every day. I guess I try hard to just "tune out."
I don't just LIKE quiet - I CRAVE it. I need it. It's essential to my well being. Probably even more so after having to spend 7+ hours every day in a very noisy school with very noisy children. I day dream all the time about a cabin in the woods, a cabin without electricity. A cabin that is just simply peaceful and quiet. I would love to wake to, and go to sleep to, nothing more than the croak of ravens playing in among the pines, and dogs barking outside and those chickens clucking as they scratch in the dirt, looking for their breakfast.
And the smell of woodsmoke is also integral to my dreams - scents of things wake my emotions and imagination faster than sounds or sights always. And the scent of woodsmoke, especially that carried on a cooling breeze, or a brisk wind, outside, reminds me of so much that is, and has always been important to me. Home, friends, family, simplicity, guitars, warmth, silence, simplicity. Woodsmoke and silence just naturally go hand in hand. I hope I"m headed their direction, because this world I live in now is just too noisy for me.