Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vacation's Over--Silence was Golden

Vacation is over.  Time to slip on the chaps and spurs again and board the saddle.  

I wish I could say it's great to be back, but when you vacation in your dream spot where you plan to retire, well, you get the picture.  We are back from blue skies, clear air, and the biggest thing I notice, no noise.  
Have you ever noticed how much noise is all around you?  I sure noticed the lack of it on our trip.  We stayed at the beautiful Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond, Oregon which I highly recommend to all of you, especially you golfers.  Check out the scenery in the video on the webpage.  You'll see what I am describing.   Our condo was right on one of the fairways and I was reminded of that when one morning while sipping my coffee and reading I heard a loud "thunk" and the sound of a ball bouncing on the wooden patio.  Yup, some guy had the world's worse hook and had sent his ball careening through the junipers right into the condo where we were staying.  

Back to noise.  I took particular notice of the quiet on my first early morning walk.  About half-way around the facility I stopped and listened.  What was different?  I heard birds of all kinds from geese to finches, robins, quail, magpies and the breeze as it drifted through the juniper trees.  But other than an occasional car, or maybe a solitary plane off in the distance, nothing but quiet.  And I marveled, how much of my life is surrounded by noise? 

Constant freeway traffic, planes taking off overhead every five minutes, radios and tv's blaring from nearby houses all contributing to an every present din of background noise.  But on our vacation, none of that.  Oh, if you go downtown, yes, you are in civilization and traffic and noise are all around you there, but out in the 'burbs and then in the areas out of town, nothing but quiet.  In Bend and Redmond, which are 15 minutes apart, wilderness and woods are only five minutes out of town.  Bend Oregon is on the edge of the high desert in central Oregon, on the eastern slopes of the magnificent Cascade mountains.  

This year I didn't even turn on my Ipod but decided to break myself completely from noise and relax with good books and go brain dead watching the Seattle Mariners struggle with the Anaheim Angels.   Seattle?  Yeah...I don't know about that.  I may have to get the sports package for my Dish when we finally settle into our home in Bend.  I can't go without watching my San Francisco Giants.  So no Ipod, nothing in my ears to entertain my mind, no sermons, no nothing.  I can't tell you how liberating that was.  

Back to the golf course walks.  The walk completely around the facility takes about forty-five minutes.  Time to look at the snow capped volcanos that line up like sentinels in the Cascade range.  Time to take in the beauty of the juniper forest all around and in the resort.  Time to stop and watch the playful ground squirrels run and bark at each other.  Time to hear the scurry of the quail running through the sage.  Time to listen to the wind, talk to the friendly robins, watch the crazy antics of swallows chasing bugs, and time to pray.  Yes, pray.  

I found those early morning walks to be the most precious time of my day.  The Lord strolled with me past those fairways, fragrant junipers and sage.  We had the most wonderful chats.  And  I think I've come home with perhaps a different outlook toward life.  One that is more contemplative perhaps, but even more determined to find places of quiet for my life.  My Ipod, which I use primarily for instruction and prayer and not for music, will be used less.  Instead, I'll return to my first love and spend more time reading.

Nice thought huh?  Well, we'll see how it all works out when I hit the mainstream of traffic Tuesday morning.  But for now, peace is something I've discovered.  Peace in finding the value of silence.  
Try it once in a while.  Get away from the noise.  Find out what science has been telling us for years and what the Bible has said many times.  Silence really is golden...and you really don't have to be bored experiencing it.

God bless


  1. Rich,
    Welcome back! Ahhh...I do understand the beauty and precious treasure of silent and stillness. I am so glad to hear you were refreshed and renewed during your vacation in beautiful Oregon.

    I am not sure if you knew, but I grew up in the Tri-Cities in SE Washington. As far as Oregon, I have visited Portland, and once camped near the Hood canal. Beautiful area.

    Wonderful words here about enjoying and embracing the simplicity of noiselessness!

    I wish you a great week!

    ~Amy :)

  2. Great to have you back. While a vacation is not in my budget right now, I'm going on a retreat next month. Can't wait - silence, nature - no buzzing around like a hyperactive bee. No golf (I like golf), but I hope to do some of that later this year.

  3. I'm very familiar with the Tri-Cities area Amy. Although it's been nearly 47 years since I've been in that area. We toured it a lot when I was in my college choir. Most of my family on my mother's side is from the Oregon/Washington area.
    The outdoors really inspires me. I love looking up into the high mountain desert sky at night and seeing the expanse of the heavens and can't help but wonder how anyone could doubt there is a God.
    While it's good to be back in my own bed, I look forward to taking my bed and everything else to Oregon.

  4. Hi Pennyyak. Your time will come. And Oh...even though we stayed on a golf resort, we didn't play golf. That's not my game. Fishing is what I love. But the silence and beauty was fantastic.
    I viewed your site. I love the way you laid it out. I have much to learn from people like you. I tried to comment on your Anglican post, but for some reason it wouldn't give me a box to comment in. I hurt for the Anglican community. They are in such a struggle.