Unplugged

On the first of the month, I started going for walks. I’ve been doing it pretty much every day. I’ll stretch out the tendons, plug in my earbuds, and hit the road for a few miles (round trip).

What’s playing you might ask? Sometimes it’s music, other times it’s audiobooks or podcasts, but it’s always something.

A few days ago, I’m out and about and there’s this stretch of road out in the middle of nowhere that runs along a kind of wetland and that’s when I hear them:

Spring Peepers.

I love Spring Peepers and hearing them was unavoidable. Say what you want about noise cancelling ear buds, those little critters can “Peep” at around a hundred decibels.

So I’m walking along with a podcast playing in my ears and the peepers are peeping, so I set the podcast on pause and unplugged the earbuds.

In addition to the peepers, what struck me was how quiet it was. Just peepers and birdsong. Now you might be asking yourself: Peepers and birdsong? How is that quiet?

Well, there’s quiet and then there’s quiet. Spend some time out in the hills and hollers and you’ll notice the difference.

We’re surrounded by the sounds we make ourselves. Some of it is just noise. Cars, planes, machines. Some of it is our fellow humans – voices, the drone of mass conversation, laughter, shouting, etc. Some of it is music (I’m listening to music as I type this) or some other kind of entertainment. Sometimes the music, etc. is something you use as a layer of insulation against the other sounds. I do this regularly.

But out there, that day, there was nothing but the birds and the peepers and the wind. No noise.

It was pretty awesome.

I kept the earbuds unplugged for a while and just walked.

That, too, was pretty awesome.

I think that, sometimes the things we use for insulation can insulate us too thoroughly (Not completely against Spring Peepers, though). We’ve got some thing or another plugged into our ears, playing, competing for our focus. Maybe too well, beyond the point where we start to miss stuff out there.

One of the things I enjoy the most about walking is the change in perspective. You’re on your own feet, not in a car, and you’re seeing things differently. You’ve got time to really look at things and I confess to times where I’ve been really into what was playing, then coming to realize that I’m not paying attention to what’s around me (Scenery wise, I’m always checking the radar for the occasional car).

One of the things I’m going to start doing is occasionally leaving the earbuds behind. Give my mind a chance to just be out there with the peepers and the birds and the wind.

Who know what I’ll discover out there, but I’m sure it’ll be all for the good.

Thanks for reading.

Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

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