Monday, November 21

Silence


We took a walk this morning down to our first gate, stopping to feed that ol’ Pelton horse, the late Geronimo’s buddy. Peltie misses Ger and still hangs around by the corral.

We stopped at the gate and slowly realized that it was eerily quiet; there was no sound coming out of the sky. We normally hear airplanes high overhead all day long—not loud, but aways there to some extent. An acorn woodpecker piped up with its “ch-racka-racka” call and took a few pecks at a tree somewhere off in the distance. Otherwise, dead silence.

We walked up to the water tank to see how much was left after doing a lot of cleaning and several loads of laundry yesterday. Heading back home from the tank, we walked over to the big rock outcrop near the western edge of the property. From that vantage we can see most of the valley below, and spotted the house being built by the Gerbers down near the river. (It’s hard to miss a 7,000-square-foot house!) Line of sight, the distance is over two miles, and in the stillness we could clearly hear the sound of hammering.

“That’s a sixteen-penny nail,” I remarked to Karla. “I can tell; first a tap to set the nail, then three hits to finish. Probably a vinyl coated sinker.”

Adjacent to the rock outcrop is about an acre of ancient graves on Graveyard Slope, so dubbed by a woman who used to work at the ranch and is an archaeologist with a specialty in pre-lithic Peruvian culture. Rock mounds mark each burial, nine or ten of them scattered over the wide open space. One of the graves is a little harder to spot since there is a three-foot-diameter oak tree growing out of the rocks, which are pushed away to make a ring instead of a mound.

The carpenters put down their hammers. Again we were engulfed in silence. Awesome thick rich deep silence.

6 comments:

HHhorses said...

That sounds like Death Valley silence! Except when ours is pierced by the drone of the stealth bomber's escort as it does its monthly flyover with the (silent) bomber.

Some people from L.A. or New York say the silence is scary. The rest of us prefer it.

Susan said...

Many people with hearing impairments don't want to be given the ability to hear for the same reason, I think. The peace is too much to give up.

I wish we had some thick, rich silence around here....

Daffy said...

What a lovely picture that paints. ahwahnee is an amazingly soulfull place...if a place can be soulfull!?

JackassDave said...

I enjoyed Peltons company. I rode him a lot. . . . .

Tom Hurley said...

HHHorses: You must get some interesting observations from your international clientele, but I can commiserate with at least the Los Angeles folks. We used to live with the sound of the Hollywood Freeway, and likened it to a river.

Susan: My dad used to love the time when his hearing aid was off. But that could be because he was saving money since that thing ate batteries at a terrific pace.

Daffy: You're right. The Ahwahnee ranch is extra special.

JackassDave: Pelton mentions you often. You must have a very special relationship.

Tom Hurley said...

HHhorses: Additionally, you should know that your cousin, Boyd, flies that bomber over Death Valley. He told me that your area is one of their favorite places to fly. But before you get upset, consider this: He was the winner of the MacKay Trophy in 2008. http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/09/airforce_mackay_trophy_092809w/