Silent Mountains

Posted on September 16, 2011


I want you to stop what you are doing right now. Which I realize is reading this post. But just for a few moments, half a minute; stop. Close your eyes and listen.

More than likely you will hear the chorus of voices of your family, the rush of vehicles on the street, the incessant click of electronic devices; or if all else has fallen silent, the hum of your refrigerator. The sounds of activity may engulf you and make it hard to stop the momentum of your mind. That pull to be active, to be in motion, is alluring. Often it feels good. It even looks good. If we are busy we must be doing important things, right?

Absolute stillness is not part of our lives. We long for it and seek it out. What happens when you find it? Up in the far northern parts of Idaho there are a few alpine lakes that do not move. They are clear as glass and disturbed only by the occasional fish snatching a bug from the water’s surface. Even when a great bull moose came to drink we did not hear his approach.

Set against sparkling mica peaks the image on your screen is as silent as the place. We felt our movement and bustling about to set up our tent were somehow wrong. The place pushed on our motion causing our voices to come in hushed tones. Our movements fewer.

Time became disconnected from our lives and we were able to be, and not do. The first night we stared up at the moonless night, the milky way was a deep three dimensional brush stroke across the sky.  The only sign of the other world, a satellite passing in its controlled fall through space.

The inertia of life is not long put off and the current of time breaks in again rushing us past this sweet spot. We were in the end still servants of the clock, and forced to return to our normal life. The only mementos we could take,  a few cups of huckleberries picked along the way back into our lives. Again we are surrounded by motion.