Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peace and Quiet

Today has been an especially lovely Sunday in the Valley. The weather--cool and overcast in the morning for gardening, sunny and 70s in the afternoon for walks and reading in the sun--has been nothing short of perfection. It has been particularly peaceful in contrast to yesterday's trip into the city. I'm becoming quite the little country mouse--I find the traffic, noise, and crowds more than I can bear. The city has much to offer, but for me it's sometimes a bit too much. Quite unintentionally, I ended up at one of Portland's famous farmers' markets---acres, it seemed, of beautiful organic produce, artisanal foodstuffs, and crafts--but I was too overwhelmed by all that was on offer, and by the crowds and the noise, to appreciate it. Too many choices, too much stimulation. I was happy to escape to a quiet lunch with an interesting companion.

Growing up in the country, all I wanted was to escape to the big city. Now, as I near the half-century mark, I long for the quiet of the country. Noise is the pollution I find most stressful, and I have a hard time dealing with more than a few days in a large city where it's never completely quiet. Even living in a small community, as I do now, there are the sounds of cars going by, radios blaring, children screeching, dogs barking (I admit to a very wicked moment of hoping the dog was in fact going to eat the screeching children). But there is also the soothing sound of the fountain in my garden, and the purr of the cat in my lap. I try to focus on that and shut the rest out. Quiet, for me, is the greatest luxury. My husband and I dream of one day owning a few acres in the country, where we can plant a small vineyard and a house that overlooks it. For him, the future winemaker, the allure is agricultural. For me, it's the quiet, away from other people, that most appeals.

It was a day of simple pleasures--working in the garden, going for a walk, getting a chocolate dip-cone at the Dairy Queen, baking a blueberry-raspberry pound cake, reading a good book. (A very good book indeed: The More I Owe You by Michael Sledge. Most highly recommended.) Tonight we'll grill fish, sit outside and drink wine, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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