Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wandering into Zen-like silence

There is a peaceful magic to the late night; when the voice of the world is hushed to a whisper… After the bars have closed, the revelers have gone to their homes, the homeless have found their nightly sanctuary, the cars with their loud stereo systems and exhaust fumes are parked until tomorrow, when the rural countrysides and communities are silent…

It’s a certain Zen-like quality I experience at such times; I can hear no other sounds but my breathing, see nothing but the streetlights and perhaps the taillights of a solitary car off in the distance. If I am listening to music, it’s usually light classical or smooth Jazz, played very low, barely audible. This is the time I love to meditate.

When I was still actively playing music for a living, it was at this magic Zen time that I would be returning from the performance, often alone. I would invariably seek silence since I’d had enough noise pollution at the show. The headlights on the road, and the dash lights in my vehicle would sometimes be the only illumination for miles… On a clear night, I’d find a straight stretch of road and stop, shut off the lights and engine, and get out and watch the stars in the sky. With no streetlights to interfere, the stars were bright enough to see the time on my watch, and oh, the multitudes of them I could see! In cities and even small communities, the man-made lights overpower the stars and it’s easy to forget they are there in such profusion. Not so in the dark, quiet places of our world. The stars reclaim their rightful place as Heaven’s sentries. Occasionally, the Northern Lights would dance among their Heavenly companions.

I remember once, working on a recording project in a rural studio. As the producer, engineer and I stepped from the building into the night air after completing the day’s tasks, we all looked upward. It was late autumn and the night was crisp and cool, the sky seemingly darker and the stars seemingly brighter than normal. Looking upward, the engineer commented on the surrealness of it all. He pensively commented that it seemed magical to him, and that he often wondered what our early ancestors must have thought as they looked skyward. I replied that they probably had the same thoughts we were having at that moment, and that those stars had witnessed all that had come before us, and will witness all that will come after us.

Still, silent, unconcerned, non-judgmental… The stars look down upon us and give us hope: hope that someday we will look back from a quiet planet, a planet without wars, hatred, fear, and greed. A planet that has come to terms with itself and its near insignificance in the vast gulf of space.

We are all one…

~Still Wandering…


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  2. One of the advantages of a bicycle over a motor vehicle is the near silence even when in motion. :) Even so, I like to stop on a dark highway once in a while to enjoy the pure quiet, too, free of even the clicking of my freehub. ;)


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