I recently watched a Vlog Brothers’ video with John Green about quiet & how it is hard to find a place, which is quiet. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t understand it. For me, quiet is a routine in life—a way to keep a spirit calm and thoughtful. Which is why when at home whether that is in America or in England, my home is quiet. Usually it is the quietest of places I have. For me the search for quiet is an exercise for the inexperienced.
However, today when I sat beside the River Cam in Cambridge, England, I found it wasn’t quiet that I searched for on my afternoon walk—it was stillness. Sometimes we forget that to be quiet one must also be still. As I sat on the grass, it was anything but still. The busses and cars across the street proved a breeding ground of noise and confusion, yet it was only a hum between the breezes that flipped my hair around my head. There, legs crossed, eyes closed, I wondered what others would see. Would it be someone meditating or just some crazy tourist? And eventually the thoughts died down and in the stillness, the loudness amplified. In being still, I could feel the movement. A child who spoke to his dad in Tagalog; so happy to skip and jump on such a warm sun-filled day. His father, with a smile in his voice replied back. Wind, which stirred the trees and breathed life into the gently flowing river. A car horn honk. A duck quack. A magpie chirp. A child’s giggle. It was loud and calm. Peaceful and undeniably chaotic.
In the end, the point of my exercise—was not to find the quiet, but to be able to observe and be calm within my skin through the stillness. Between the conflicting consciousness and nature’s natural hum. To be actively still in a sea of motion feels much more revolutionary to me, then finding quiet in a world of nature.