Quiet may be extinct, I thought atop the Highlands’s Jocelyn Hill. I was far from the nearest road, but the whine and hum of traffic climbing the Malahat drifted across Finlayson Arm.
And then a helicopter whirred into view below, drowning out pretty much everything else.
My friend Don tells me he found true quiet once. He had to climb to the top of the El Teide volcano on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, to find it.
That’s a long way to go to find absence—absence of sound.
For the record, I don’t classify sounds of nature as noise. There are exceptions: the shotgun-crack of acorns hitting the rooftop, or predawn choruses of birdsong … or monkey screams or jackal howls or Nature Boy’s snores, depending on where I’m trying to sleep.
Research indicates we humans find run-of-the-mill everyday nature sounds relaxing. Serenades of birdsong and squirrel chatter soothe our usual stress responses, lower our blo.od pressure and heart rate, and slow and deepen our breathing….