I believe that we should all take time to be quiet.
I recently traveled to Lana’i, Hawaii, to see a close friend. Near the end of my stay, we decided to camp on the beach. At nightfall, we drug an air mattress across the sand, as close to the ocean as we dared, and huddled in blankets. I remember looking up at the sky after she had fallen asleep; it was so different than my Idaho sky. The sky was black, so black that the stars seemed to pierce the blackness. So black that the stars seemed innumerable. The bright stars, millions upon millions, illuminated the beach, the water, the angling palms. Everything in that moment worked together: the water in and out, the sky a soft black and white, the breathing next to me as I laid very still and quiet. Free from city lights, the sky lit my salty face as I fell asleep.
And when I awoke the next morning, my quiet continued. It was early and the beach was empty; the sleeping campers had not yet risen. I stood and walked toward the water, surrounded by morning skies and the calmness of dawn.
At a distance, I saw dolphins doing flips near the shore. Excited, I ran to the campsite, grabbed my diving gear, and flew down the beach. Once in the water, I made my way toward the fins and flips appearing briefly above the waves.
Within minutes, I was alone in the water, breathing heavily through my snorkel, spinning in circles trying to locate the dolphins. I thought I had missed them.
When I turned toward the shore, I saw masses of dolphins heading toward me. My initial fear subsided once I was close enough to sense their calm nature.
They hovered near me, but I didn’t reach out. I didn’t touch them. I just let my quiet be surrounded by the calls of dolphins. Among the playful flips and cack-cack-cack of their calls, I felt at peace.
And, when night came, and the dolphins had long ago retreated, I sat alone on a large rock near the water. I wrote a poem and sat quietly watching the ebb and flow of the water, feeling my body ebb and flow along with it.
When I was ready, I stood, breathed in, and felt alive. I felt so alive! Alive and alone, alone and peaceful, peaceful and sacred.
I try to take time to be quiet every day. Some days, it’s just a couple of minutes, breathing in and out, letting myself be. When time permits, I sit by the river. It’s these days when I feel most at peace. It’s these days when I feel more quiet, more connected. I let myself be at peace near the water, at peace in the memory of dolphins.
The water calms me in a way that nothing else can. The sound of water is my quiet sound. And in my quiet, I am free.