Quiet rewards

After being absolutely consumed by both political conventions we could think of nothing more healing than a trip to the Oregon desert. We shoved our new five-day cooler into the car’s back seat, added groceries, tent, bedding, and a couple of changes of clothes, and were out of town by 9 a.m. Monday morning. At 5:30 we were unfolding shock poles in a remote, quiet campground in empty Harney County. Except for a group of state workers camped at the end of the road, we had the place to ourselves.

The stillness was acute. We might have been in the crosshairs of Bohm’s implicate-explicate order—the nothing from which all arises. The air was still and dry. Nothing moved. No chipmunks scurried about waiting to raid our camp. No jays hollered at us from the trees. Only insects kept us company for three days of blissful quiet. In the mornings we were visited by grasshoppers, in the afternoons, flys; in the evenings, moths and bats.

We hiked a little, we read, we ate; we tried to play petanque but the ground was too rocky. We explored the campground and the horse camp nearby. We built campfires and watched the moon grow from 40 percent to almost full. We walked the campground road by moonlight, in awe of the moon shadows. We heard coyotes howl—twice. But best of all we sat, our chairs at opposite ends of camp, soaking up the absence of all sound. It was utterly restful.

On the fourth day we drove west again, as far as the Metolius River where we camped for two more days. Weekend campers arrived Friday night; their hustle and noise preparing us for the inevitable return to “civilization.” We arrived home late Saturday, weary, dusty, but totally relaxed.