Silence. Wonderful, perfect silence. Wouldn’t it be great to have just a little? There aren’t many places where the world is quiet, but when you find a spot, cherish it. It could be your couch after a long day at work, or your significant other’s hug. It could be a lawn chair next to a river, or a garden that you’ve been coaxing to grow. It could even be the five minutes where you hide in the bathroom just to get away from your kids or your pets. Sometimes we just need stillness and quiet.
One of my favorite places to find silence is outside. Rarely will I find it indoors. The following story is about a place where peace is abundant for someone who finds their quiet in nature. The narrator is also one we’ve seen in a few previous pieces. I sure hope you’re getting used to her, ’cause she’s going to be around for a while.
The prompt for this piece of flash fiction once again comes from the Tale Foundry writing group. When I sat down to write for this prompt, I had a plan. The story missed the memo, however, and made that very obvious the second my fingers typed out the second paragraph. Alright, story. You win. This is the result.
Prompt: The World is Quiet Here
A Quiet Good-bye
I rolled my shoulders under the backpack’s straps. It had been a long time since I had gone for a multi-mile hike while carrying this much weight. Just because I was strong didn’t mean the camping gear wouldn’t wear me out eventually. Only another mile or so, and I would be at my destination. I quickened my pace.
There were other places I could have gone, places where I could have driven a car right to the lake shore. But he had liked this place the most. It was still wild here. It was quiet in a way only nature could be. He hadn’t known such a place could exist until we had showed him.
I opened the door of the off-grid cabin and set my gear on the table. The scents of memories lingered here. I stood for a moment, trying to reign in my emotions before I opened the backpack and drew out a small box of birch. My hands shook as I set it on the table. It would stay there till the evening when the others would arrive.
The waves rolling over the rocky shore called me back outside. He had loved to sit and watch them, especially when a storm was forming. The lake would roar and he would tell me he had never seen the world so quiet. Today, the waves were gentle, whispering comfort as if the ever fickle Gichigami knew why I was here. I took off my shoes and socks and stood on the slick rocks as the freezing water caressed my feet.
My heart ached and my throat longed to howl my sorrow to the sky. But I would not disturb the silence here. Not yet. This place was his bastion of peace. When the others arrived, we would sing our grief together. Even then, the world would still be quiet here.