Hair-raising headlines in a recent edition of the Noisyville Herald warned, “Noise circuit overload.” You might scoff and say there’s no such place. You’re wrong. You see, we all live in Noisyville.
Noisyville farmers harvest a fertile field of haste. Noisy folk feed on this, furiously twittering, texting, talking loud and talking often. They’re worry-birds obsessed with connectedness. They’re battered with an avalanche of bad news from their information fed stimulation gadgets. Cell phones are the new cigarettes, pressed into ears instead of mouths.
Noisy folk rush about, hungry to fit in, eager to tackle tasks and subscribe to a stressed out way of life. Like a tsunami, the stress overwhelms them in ongoing waves of doom and despair.
I won’t wade into the war of words over what defines a senior. But, I do know that as we grow older, we begin to resist, to break free from those nauseous noise waves. We seek a sense of balance and crave more peace. It’s like a pressure relief valve and it’s a good thing.
The late Caskie Stinnett, who wrote the column “Room With a View” for Down East magazine, once said, “I loathe noise.”
Noise is annoyance. Researchers tell us that noise can be a hazard to our health. They suggest that noise increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks and hearing loss. Oh my. Have you ever heard yourself proclaiming, “I need some peace and quiet!” Our health depends on it.
It’s too darn noisy out there.
We need to turn down the noise volume, like the librarian, the protector of silence, the noise spoiler, who loudly whispers, “Shhhhh.”
I’m thinking about writing a bestseller called The Great Maine Noise Escape. My characters will live in Silentville, a peaceful hamlet somewhere in Vacation-land. Here, common folk seek a common bond, a noise respite of quiet moments. They indulge in mind-
wandering, thinking, reflecting and pondering.
As we mark our senior birthdays, we tend to slow down a mite and relish those natural speed bumps. Edgar A. Guest said, “Peace is born of simple things.” Kayak on Eagle Lake near Fort Kent, prowl around the Port Clyde General Store next to the Monhegan ferry, browse the book and antique aisles of the Big Chicken Barn on Rt.1 in Ellsworth and hike in the mountains near Bethel. Right here in Maine.
Toss the cell phone, grab your walking stick and saunter around the bend. Take the pine-scented path, the long forgotten trail, the road to solitude. Sit back and enjoy the satisfying feel of sea mist, the comforting sound of a ticking mantel clock, the scrumptious smell of
homemade donuts and the savory taste of silence. Right here in Maine.
Perhaps these poignant words in The Last of the Mohicans say it all: “We’ll go back into the forest and find what we lost—peace—the most precious thing a man has.” Right here in Maine.
My rocking chair softly scrapes the creaky floorboards. I nod and smile to passersby who stroll along, momentarily free from everyday strife. I rock, snug in the shelter of my own solitude, observing the sweet silence of life, From the Porch.
Hunter Howe lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife, Colette, and their two beloved dogs, Spirit and Schooner. He writes for the Senior News, a publication of the Southern Maine Agency on Aging. Currently, he’s working on a suspense novel and an observational humor book appropriately set in a fictional town in mid-coast Maine.