There are places of extreme quiet, where silence and nothing are one, and you cannot tell them apart. Places where only nature speaks and her sound is deafening as no other audible intrusion is near.
One place is on a silent river. Where portions neither ripple nor descend through roaring cataracts but carry liquid volumes in the stillness of deep flows and where it is far enough away from man’s modern concoctions that the only thing you hear are your thoughts.
If you’ve never been to such a place and find yourself in one, there will come wonderment, revelation, a spiritual attunement, and a surprise appreciation of a sentient nature that only stillness engenders.
The first time I experienced such silence was on the Green River in Utah as I floated in a quiet eddy pool and found myself in involuntary prayer with nature whose sacristy I had entered and remained by choice of benevolent thought.
The second time was at night alone at the edge of a lake in the Allagash wilderness of Maine. The stars have a noticeable brilliance when civilization is far away. They also have a sound that man rarely hears for we occupy a space of noise and hustle in the Cosmos of life.
The third I often experience for I live nearby. It is on the Wallkill River in New York. When my Kayak drifts on the silent surface, I embrace the Oneness and silence of All That Is.
I know that science has learned much from exploring the vast cacophony of the heavens. I know that religions promote silence to reach the unreachable. I know that the stillness of winter creates a frigid cocoon and a constricting density.
What I didn’t know until I experienced it was the gift that nature’s silence gives the listener. I found too that robust laughter needs no sound and God needs no dogma.