Thoughts from the Sonoma trip while listening for silence

I’ve posted just a few pictures of the fabulous Sonoma setting where we enjoyed an incredibly rich experience in the hills poised above a beautiful vineyard. I am not much of a photographer, but I can give you a wee taste of the verdant, luminous and idyllic landscape. My cousin’s son, Mitch, married the beautiful Molly and there is indeed a special energy when a family comes together not just to attend a ceremony, but to witness, according to one of my favorite writers, Madeleine L’Engle,  Love, the one surprise.

You have a lot of time to think when you’re in the car for an 800-mile round-trip. I thought about how much of the weekend activity reminded me of what I’ve been reading in Silence, The Mystery of Wholeness (Sardello). In my active life isolation of any kind is untenable.  Everywhere I go it seems noise follows.  Even on this trip we spent one extra night on the road and Jay and I looked forward to a peaceful (quiet) coffee-laden continental breakfast at the hotel prior to the next leg of the drive.  Guess what? We were met with two (not one, TWO) ceiling mounted televisions screeching the morning news show—news if you’re inclined to care that according to GMA the 80’s are returning in fashion and entertainment elements. Blah! Blah! Blah!

Sardello affirms what I know to be true– that it is nearly impossible to find true silence. People no longer go “into the woods” leaving technology behind, and where amplified sound goes, noise for someone else follows. High in the Sonoma hills the vineyards teased a break from noise with the beauty and promise of solitude indeed tempting. Blogger Loren Rhodes shared a beautiful post this week in response to her daughter’s questioning why mommy enjoys cemeteries. Cemetery Travel: Adventures in Graveyards Around the World | Member of the Graveyard Rabbits Association.  Perhaps “cemetery talk” is oddly juxtaposed against my family wedding experience, but the beautiful response to her child got me thinking about the tug that almost daily exists between the pull to quiet and solitude and push to remain actively engaged and connected to others!

Although I really hope you’ll read her own words, Loren mused that the draw to cemeteries exists because they are peaceful and quiet, but they also stand as reminders that everything, even memory, passes away, and it’s our relationships today that are real and give life importance.  The beautiful Sonoma house we stayed in was filled with joyful noise, while the outdoors beckoned a long sit on the verandah.  I always look for ways to sit and be still in such a beautiful setting, but this go-round I didn’t actually sit in solitude. I didn’t have the opportunity to fully experience the quiet from the outside as much as I would have liked, but I most definitely found deep satisfaction and fully appreciated the abundant experience of time spent in company and relationship with a wonderful multigenerational family.  It was a truly special experience. And any time I can be with my very loved (and loving) family, I know I can tap into the peaceful silence, often elusive,  you can only carry with you.

Maybe you can share how you tap into silent experiences! I’d love to hear.


11 thoughts on “Thoughts from the Sonoma trip while listening for silence

    1. California Wine Country is about as perfect a region as I can imagine. It’s worth even an international vacation, I think 🙂 I have just started reading Loren’s blog and enjoy it…such a unique central focus, don’t you think? Debra

  1. cristin

    I have yet to find pure silence in my best quests for it,yet, I came close. The monastary in Sierra Madre allows visitors to roam the grounds, sit by the fountain, walk the labyrinth and enjoy the lush trees and beauty. I could still hear the lawn mower off in the distance and the blue jay squaking but it was a really great way to spend the morning.

    1. That actually sounds quite wonderful, Cristin. I think I need to make a trip up there sometime soon. It’s been a long time. Lawn mowers and leaf blowers are everywhere, aren’t they? Thanks for stopping by!! Debra

  2. Ellen

    D, The photos are so telling of what surroundings you share in seeking the “sounds of silence”. (Perhaps, the words of another but we all know what it means!) I am going to pursue the Napa areas more vigorously. Delightful I know!

    Interestingly, I did experience silence on my first “land” trip to the Grand Canyon last week. I was taken with the surreal composition of stillness in sound and sight–if there is such a thing. (?) I kept searching for the edges of the frame (akin to an Hollywood backdrop) to note this portrait of Nature’s vast expanse and my small stature to view it. Silence was ever-present–even my fellow trip visitors maintained a whisper-like voice when speaking, if they spoke at all. A reverence to what no human could create. I found myself removing my sunglasses to experience it all as “connected” as I was able. I did envy the lone raven soaring in and out of the cliff edges and spires to touch the handiwork of the Creator.

    Silence is a thing of beauty and such a challenge to find!


  3. heather gardner-madras

    Such odd timing to now read your blog post. Just today I was on one of my 10 minute break walks with my cat in the woods around our house and all I could think of was how quiet it was. Just the shush of the trees and a few chirps from further on. I soaked in the stillness with the sunlight and counted my blessings again. I never take it for granted.

    I am so lucky to live in a valley where even radio, tv and cell signals are kept at bay by the steep hills. I get jumpy in the “city” because of all the noise until I re-adjust to what used to be so normal. I have a friend with an inn up around the area you were that sounds blissfully peaceful – let me know if you want the link.

    And I think you are too harsh on your photo skills. I can feel the beauty of where you were through the screen.

    1. Heather, your valley sounds wonderful! I often wonder if I am honestly equipped for the solitude and silence–I think it sounds so refreshing, but I’ve never had the opportunity beyond vacation! I would like to try! Thanks, too, for the positive remarks regarding photos. I think I do get a little self-critical…but the beauty of the area wasn’t too hard to capture. And I’d love to have a link to your friend’s place. I do plan to return and would be very interested! Enjoy your wonderful walks! They sound amazing. D

  4. Pingback: resilience in the new year…and other thoughts – breathelighter

I always enjoy hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.