In this very noisy world, where you are always surrounded by man-made sounds, it can take a long search to find a really quiet place. It also depends on how you define “quiet”. Can a quiet place have people in it, or do you have to be alone to have quiet? Can you be indoors, or must you be outdoors? As my friend Hank Barr says, the answer to nearly any question is, “It depends”. It’s my opinion that the reason 20th Century music can be discordant or atonal is due in part to the increasing noise in the man-made environment, including automobiles, machinery, and recordings that can be played at ear-splitting volume. Horse-drawn wagons and carriages didn’t make much noise, but that big cement truck sure makes a lot of noise!
Back in October of 2012, Hubby and I traveled to the East Coast, and we got to spend part of a day on the beach at Cape May, New Jersey. Cape May is a big tourist destination, and during the summer months the beaches are crowded with throngs of vacationers taking up every square foot of sand. In October, however, all the crowds have gone, the streets are empty (you can even find a parking place on the street!), and the beach is empty of swimmers and sunbathers. We were fortunate to get excellent weather, too, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. It felt really weird to have the broad expanse of beach almost entirely to ourselves.
It was almost eerily quiet, except for the sound of the Atlantic Ocean waves breaking. The constant sound of ocean waves is very calming, and contributes to the sense of quiet.
Now, the beach wasn’t entirely empty. We did have some avian company.
We enjoyed watching the mixed flock of Skimmers, Terns, and Gulls.
Back from the beach, behind the dunes, is a quiet pond, with swans and ducks swimming. Here’s a trio of Shoveler Ducks, one in a most undignified position.
Cape May is a very popular vacation destination. On the East Coast, there is a tradition of people taking vacation lodgings for the summer season, and the town is filled with big houses where dozens of families rent for weeks or the whole summer. In October, those houses were mostly empty and quiet.
The street was lined with these big, beautiful houses, which just had to be vacation rentals. You could imagine the sounds of summer, with children running around and calling to each other, and cars going by. But at this time, it was almost eerily quiet.
It’s almost hard to believe that this vacation destination could actually ever be this subdued, but with the people gone back to their cities, it’s a nice place to visit for some peace and quiet. We were very lucky that we went when we did. A few days later, Superstorm Sandy hit, and this beach wasn’t quite so peaceful or quiet.