Sitting here on the back porch, looking across farm fields and ranch land, there is sound, of course. But it's of a kind that soothes rather than rattles. Cows lowing, sheep baa-ing, birds chirping and cooing and crowing.
What's missing, but not missed, is the constant jangle of human sound. It's not entirely absent, but it is gracefully subdued and intermittent. A far-off tractor working a field. A car slowly rolling by on a one-lane road half-a-mile down the hill. A plane 30,000 feet above.
As I sit here, no actual humans are in sight. Cows, goats, doves and cardinals are accounted for—as are a couple of romping dogs and what I assume is an 'io, the native Hawaiian hawk. Whatever sound it might be making is carried away by the wind.
After a while, a horse and rider appear, ambling along the road below. They're in no hurry, maybe just soaking up some mid-morning sun.
A bit later, several geese complain loudly about something unseen. I look up to see four of them, in a row, hurrying up the road—cheerfully chased by a young boy.
Further down the slope, the endless blue of the Pacific Ocean stretches to the horizon. If you were to sail north from here, on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, your next stop would be Alaska—with nothing but water in between.
Dogs barking outdoors, at a distance, blend into the background. Dogs barking indoors, at close range, are akin to sudden jackhammering in a library.
A tractor rumbling through a far-off field is pastoral. A police car speeding by with sirens blaring is like a tractor rumbling through the living room.
A tiny baby goat carried by a young girl in the local grocery store is endearing and adorable. A tiny baby goat carried by a young girl at an urban Whole Foods is...okay, that's still endearing and adorable. Never mind.
It's amazing how quickly and completely my routine has changed in the few days I've been here. I'm eating better, exercising more, and deep-breathing without having to remind myself to take a damn breath.
We're still months away from moving here full time, but I expect this pattern to hold when we do.
I'm heading back to Seattle soon.
I'll be taking as much of the quiet with me as I can.