One of the things that I like the most about hiking is that I have the ability (if I choose the right trail and time), to hike in almost perfect silence. Besides the wind blowing through the trees or the occasional chipmunk or squirrel running through the woods, most of the time I am fortunate to be able to walk in complete utter silence.
This is indeed a beautiful thing based on the fact that my days are spent in a high school surrounded by 1,600 students. Needless to say, my days are filled with varying degrees of talking, screaming, and laughter, all at a decibel that would rival a jumbo jet taking off. All that for almost seven hours a day.
So it is silence that I seek the end of the day, especially at this time of year. Students know that the end of the school year is just around the corner and obviously so do the teachers. Thoughts are on the end of the year exams, completing work (on time and late), and just the frenzied free for all that all teachers call “the end of the year.”
So it is the time when the students walk out the door for the last time and the teachers are soon to follow that we each choose our destination and activity to recharge the batteries and regain the Zen needed to make it through another year.
I know, boo hoo for the poor teachers who have the entire summer off! All of that aside, we all should have a place where we can go and know that for even a short period of time nothing is able to disturb us so we can regain our sanity!
In his essay about silence, noted explorer, author and publisher Erling Kagge notes three things-1) The basic state in our brain is one of chaos, 2) An abundance of activities leaves us with a feeling of experientialpoverty and 3) We are living in the age of noise.
Why does he say this? Think about it. What do we do every day? We wake up and what is the first thing we do? We look at our phones. We check e-mails, texts and phone messages. We get to work and do the same. After work we repeat the process and it never seems like we get off of the electronic devices crazy train.
One of the things I learned while I was in the hospital a couple of months ago was that nothing happened to me when I couldn’t use my cell phone or ipad (to face time). The world didn’t end, I didn’t cease to exist or go crazy. I just did what I did when I was a kid, I read books. Honestly, I didn’t care that i couldn’t access my phone.
Imagine this-six days of quiet. Not total silence (I was in a hospital), but I did not have the usual distractions that we are all forced to endure every day. I will admit that it was nice. My mind became uncluttered and I didn’t find myself checking the phone or ipad for messages, notification and e-mails.
My idea is a simple one. Take one day a week and disconnect. It’s not that difficult. As a matter fact, it’s really quite nice. I did it and survived.
Does anyone out there do anything to disconnect on a daily basis? I would love to read some of your thoughts.
Another day, another hike, another near miss with the rain. Only this time I didn’t even know it was supposed to rain! Heading out right after work, I decided to do the loop that I did on Sunday, only this time I would go past the connector trail and continue on the Red/Yellow Trail to the finish.
When I was about a half of a mile from the end, I saw this leaf suspended in mid air. At first I was a little freaked out because I couldn’t see anything holding it up. It just kept turning with the slight breeze that was blowing. Even when you look at the picture, you can’t see anything!!!
As I finished the hike and stretched my legs, I felt the familiar drops of rain as it went from barely raining to pouring in a matter of a couple of minutes. Once again, I got lucky and didn’t get soaked!