The Sounds of Silence

I ran into some former neighbors of mine last night at The Seafood Pot, a small restaurant in Destrehan, LA, and we got to talking about the difference between living in busy towns and quiet, rural America. You see, my wife and I moved to Luling several years ago upon getting married, Luling being one of the larger towns in our parish (for those who don’t know, a parish is Louisiana’s version of a county). This move took me away from the place I’d grown up, a much more isolated and quiet area of Des Allemands and Bayou Gauche, more than a few miles away from Luling and down a long road that splits right through pastureland. The move was absolutely the right decision, and I love the home that Lindsey and I have created. Just the same, it happens to be situated right alongside a fairly busy road in a fairly busy little town.

Now, this doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind being smack dab in the middle of things, and while my current residence isn’t exactly in “the middle of things,” it’s definitely a far cry from cows and alligators within viewing distance of my front porch. But it does make me appreciate just how nice peace and quiet can be.

I really realized this about a year and a half ago, when I had a pickup to make in my old neighborhood at about 0500-0600. As I got out of my truck and awaited the person I’d gone to meet, I stood in the street and just listened. There’s something magically pacifying about the sound of leaves rustling in the gentle wind–of birds waking up to the morning sun. During my wait for this individual, those were the only two things that I heard: birds and wind. I remember closing my eyes and thinking, wow, I really miss this.

Last year I got to take a friend of mine, Michael Paladine, who is actually the voice behind David Jurgen in the upcoming Dawn of Destiny audiobook, out to my neck of the woods. And by that I mean, out in a boat to the middle of the marsh (the Game Reserve, for those knowledgeable about this area). Mike’s from NYC. And by that, I really mean NYC. He’d never been to Louisiana before, and he was unaccustomed to the sheer isolation of, well, isolation. Being in the middle of nowhere. Hearing only the swirls of bass (the fish, not the instrument) as they hit insects on the surface of the water amid a backdrop of birds, insects, and frog songs. Nature. I distinctly remember hearing Mike say, as he stood there and just took it all in, “You know, I think people need to get away to a place like this every now and then.” Hearing him say that stuck with me.

I think it’s true. If you asked me which thing I’d rather do–write, or sit in a boat in the middle of the Game Reserve–I’m not sure which one I’d pick. I definitely know which one I have more time for, and unfortunately, it’s writing. But I think everyone, at some point or another, needs to get lost in the great expanse of the natural world.

Or at the very least, spend some time living in a quiet neighborhood.

What are some of your favorite getaway places? Post them in the comments!

Cast right there.


  1. David M. says:

    Living here in New Mexico for so long has definitely caused me to become somewhat homesick for Louisiana. Sure, the area I live in is somewhat small, and N.M. certainly does have its share of natural beauty and calm; unfortunately, you don’t really get that where I’m at, despite the relatively small size of this town. One day I’d love to just get away to an area that’s not quite so hustle and bustle, even if it were only for a day.

  2. Daniel Ashby says:

    I live within an easy bike ride of Chickamauga Lake on the Tennessee River. During the day its often a relatively busy place, but usually around dusk it becomes very peacefull. When I need a few moments away from the world I’ll often go there to watch the sun set over the hills on the other side. The only time its more peacefully is at dawn, when even the ripples from the previous days boats have disappeared.

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