Chair’s Corner

July – August 2018 – by Dick Beck, Chair


            A few of you may live regularly with genuine silence.

            Many of us do not.   I know people who turn on the radio or TV or “Alexa” as soon as they wake up.   I even know people who keep a radio on all night.

            Background noise is ever-present for many of us.   As I write this, I hear our frost-free refrigerator running continuously.   Even at night, we hear appliances powering on and off.   Many of us hear traffic noise regularly day and night – even inside our closed houses.   I can remember sleeping out in a tent with my wife in our country back yard, just after we were married, expecting a “belling” from our friends.   All night long, we heard the trucks on the turnpike over 3 miles away.   True background noise.   The belling came another night.

            Wednesday morning June 6 2018, I drove my 3 year old grandson River to Quail Hollow Park.

            We arrived at Shady Hollow parking lot, and were soon alone on the small playground.   River said he’d been here before, with his Daddy, Mommy and little brother.   I checked later, and he was right.   They’d come, but soon been rained out of that “adventure.”

            He got in one of the two baby swings, and I pushed him for 10-15 minutes!   I timed it.

            SILENCE was the thing I noticed most.   I heard birds – mostly robins and cardinals, but a few others.   Once we heard a train whistle – from the other side of Congress Lake!    Then we heard the train itself, and the whistle again, before those sounds faded.   I may have sung out loud “If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone, you can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles . . . .”   But soon I stopped . . . and listened to the silence.  My heart was renewed, and I looked forward more than ever to the trip my wife Marlene and I expect to take soon, with our tent and sleeping bags, to the Canadian Rockies.          

            I convinced River to walk with me through the woods, and suggested that if we didn’t talk all the time, we might be more likely to see a deer, or other animals.   We’re both talkers, but this time, as we walked, we were often silent, and we whispered.

            It was an adventure for both of us.  We didn’t see a deer until we drove west on Pontius Road, where a beautiful doe walked from the woods on our left into the corn field on our right. 

            June 5, I planned to write here about our need to use whatever political power we still have to save parks, and wild spaces, . . . and the precious earth.   But you know that.

            May you experience a bit of silence this summer, . . . and be able to think about what’s important enough that you want it to be around for your grandchildren, . . . and for people you will never know!   May you explore, enjoy and protect the earth.