Last week I read an article about one of America's quietest places, which happens to be in Olympic National Park in Washington State. "It's not easy to find silence in the modern world," says the writer. What is silence? The writer defines it: "Silence is when you can listen for fifteen minutes in daylight hours without hearing a human-created sound."
Luckily, I don't have to travel cross-country to find silence. Today was remarkably quiet right here at Middlewood. I noticed it as I walked out onto the pipeline. I stopped to listen for human-made sounds. Nothing. The sky was clear and blue as sapphires, without one contrail - which is highly unusual for us as we are under the flight path between Charlotte and Atlanta. No person within hearing distance was cutting wood with a chainsaw, driving a car, blowing leaves, mowing grass, riding a dirtbike. There were only the high-pitched trill of crickets, crows cawing in the distance, the breeze stirring the treetops... it was very peaceful.
The dogs and I hiked all over, but ended up in the deep dark woods beside Meetinghouse Creek... in the spot we named Coon Hollow for the hundreds of raccoon prints in the sandbars and the steep north-facing bluff on one side of the creek that curves around with the bend of the creek. In this shady spot the leaves still held tiny pools of water from Friday's rain. Mushrooms were growing everywhere, all sizes - from a 5" Old-Man-of-the-Woods, down to the tiny, shirt-button-sized, umbrella shaped Pinwheel Marasmius. , and the above sedge, fern, and the mystery plant with holes.