Q – Quietude

A-Z Survival Guide to Life

Q – Quietude

This is the seventeenth installment in the A-Z Survival Guide to Life I am writing for my boys.

Back when I was in Graduate School, I lived just outside of Seattle, in Lake Stevens. It was a little town, kind of quirky, filled with people that chose to make the horrendous commute to get out of the scrabbling life of Seattle.  It was affordable, and had a slower pace.

On my days off, or when I had a little extra time, I would pack the dogs, Sheila, Sophie and Alex into the car. This was an interesting process because at the time I owned a classic Mercedes, I think it was a 1970 250D.  Sophie – who was an English Sheep Dog sat in the front seat, and the two Great Danes, Sheila and Alex sat in the back seat.  And I am sure you are probably wondering how that worked.  But the Mercedes was a tank, with plenty of room if everyone involved stuck to their seating assignments. The Great Danes sat in the back, with their butts on the seat and their front paws on the floor boards – they all had plenty of room.

We would drive north, along the winding roads out of Lake Stevens into the woods. The dogs, knowing our destination, stared intently out their respective windows. I am sure it was quite a sight to catch, because they really looked like humans sitting in the car, going for a drive.

About 15 miles outside of Lake Stevens, along the country roads was a place with a gravel road. Here is where we would go. I’d drive to the end of the gravel road, which just kind of stopped in the forest.  I don’t recall it going anywhere, it was just a random gravel road in the woods.  After stopping, I would open the car doors, letting the dogs out.

There was something special about this place. The gravel road ran parallel to a river.  I have no idea what river it was.  The water was so clear, and cold.  The sun shot spears of gold through the water onto the bed of the river. At several places along the river, small rapids formed as the water bubbled over the boulders and splashed its way along.  When I could actually extricate Sheila (the only Great Dane I ever met who enjoyed splashing around in water) and Sophie from the water we would continue our hike down the gravel road. The road was surrounded by a thick canopy of trees, where only dappled light made it through the dense foliage.  At the base of the forest large fronds of ferns stood high, covering the forest floor like a shag green carpet on steroids. Everything was so lush I always felt like I was absorbing the peacefulness and serenity of the surroundings into every cell of my being.

There was never any sounds, other than the scampering of twelve paws along the graveled road, the rushing sound of water, the musical splashing as it met with resistance from the boulders. It was so quiet, so peaceful and so exhilarating all at once. I felt tranquil here, at this place with the gravel road, and the river – me and the dogs, with the tank of a Mercedes parked at the end of a gravel road that went nowhere.

I tell you all this, because in your lives you need to find quietude. There needs to be a place, where you can get away from the noise, the constant barrage of information, away from the cell phones and the televisions, the gaming consoles and all the other stuff that adds extraneous stress to your life.  You need to find a place where you can decompress, really settle into your mind and your thoughts and breathe.  You will know when you have arrived at that place because your skin will tingle, you will be able to take deeper breaths and you will hear the sounds of nature, the birds, the insects, the trickling of water and the rustle of the leaves in the trees.  This will be the place you find quietude.

Quietude – a state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or place


Photo credit – all-free-download.com



27 replies »

  1. Quietude is something we all need a little of, I think. My children certainly do, which is why they hide in the bathroom with a comic book.

  2. I agree about the need for quietude in everyone’s life. Your lovely story makes that point perfectly.

    [I found you via #AtoZChallenge. Hi!]

  3. So you went for it! And I think it came out very well. For me, my spot of quietude is at the lake front (which you may have guessed with my photos!) Even when it’s busy, you can find a little corner of silence.

    • Lakes are great for just sitting and thinking, or sometimes just sitting. Something about the smooth surface of the water. I wish we had a lake around here, well at least one with some water in it.

      • Ours is very rarely smooth, but amazing when it is (I’m in Chicago, so it’s Lake Michigan). There are times you’d think it was an ocean, with crashing waves and nothing but water far into the horizon. We’re very lucky to have it. All of my water pictures are the lake. It’s so beautiful early in the morning.

      • I grew up in Chicago, in Hyde Park. I remember in the winter the ice on the lake undulating. I never realized until I left Chicago, what a truly impressive lake, Lake Michigan is.

      • A Chicago transplant! I hope that wherever you live now is just as wonderful.

        Yes, it amazes me, especially every time I go around the curve on Lake Shore Drive and I think about how people made that happen. 🙂

      • I love Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue. Used to spend all my babysitting money down on Michigan Avenue when Lord & Taylors and Marshall Fields were the stores to go to. We used to ride our bikes from Hyde Park, shop and ride back. Those were the days. Now I live in the Central Valley of California – it isn’t very exciting, but it is safe (relatively) and warm.

      • Ooh, I very much envy you on the warm! Chicago’s weather is the crazy side you put up with because it’s got such a great personality.

      • The warm gets a bit too warm in the summer with weeks and weeks of over 100, but it’s a dry heat. People say that all the time here, but I swear it doesn’t make the heat any less horrible. I miss Chicago’s food – everything here is slathered in avocado and cilantro and mango, which is good up to a point. Give me a good Italian Beef Sandwich with au jus – any day!!!

  4. An excellent piece of advise. Everyone needs to escape from time to time so they can think and contemplate in peace and quiet. I do so all the time and like you have a special place where I go with the dog (and sometimes with our children). Nothing beats it

    • Everyone needs a place where they can kind of recharge. I find there really isn’t a place like that in my house, what with slamming of doors, TVs, expletives being hurled at Bosses in video games. The backyard is fairly quiet until our next door neighbor starts screaming at her poor dogs. I must find a place around here. You are right, nothing beats it.

  5. I find the ocean to be a great place to go for quietude. It is so peaceful. I agree that it is important to find those moments of stillness. We live in a noisy time and, while I love it in many ways, it is important to find balance.

    • I agree, the ocean is such a special place. But the dappled sun and the trees and the dogs make the place in the woods stick in my mind as my all time favorite place. Thank-you for coming to visit my little blog!!!!

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