I was just down in Mancos, Colorado.  It is in the four corners section of the state.  The one remarkable thing about the area was being in blessed quiet.  At least compared to the cacophony of sounds that is urban Chicago.   At times, for long stretches of time, there was no sound at all, not even the singing of a bird.   Looking out toward Mesa Verde, with the ruins of the ancient people tucked in its ridges and ravines, I imagined how wonderful it must have been for people to know no noise.   To have the lack of sound be the norm every day, perhaps interrupted by an errant thunderstorm, or wind in the pin-oaks leaves.   

Even here, in remote Colorado, there is man-made noise.  Usually it comes in two forms, ATV’s “four-wheeling” in some backcountry area and gun fire.  The gun fire is usually from someone practicing, thankfully.  Overhead, every so often a high-flying jet may puncture the peace for a brief moment.  But all in all, quiet still reigns, despite civilized man’s insatiable desire for noise.  

Unfortunately, civilized man in Mancos will do their best to challenge quiet.  Or even sully the juniper scented desert smell by burning trash, the odor of burning plastic and styrofoam carried on the wind like an insult.   These people embrace some distorted notion that freedom means no responsibility to the past, present and especially the future.  

Needless noise is craved by those who are afraid of quiet.  When it is quiet, there are only thoughts.  Distractions, especially those in the city, are by those who need to put space between their innermost thoughts and their environment.  If there is just enough honking, screeching, clanging, gunfire, shouting, sirens, jet planes landing, dogs barking, radios blaring, trucks backing up, jackhammers hammering, we can avoid searching for meaning.  We don’t have to listen to ourselves searching because we don’t have to listen with all the noise.  

So why is it important to have quiet?  Why is it important to be “fully listening?”  The biggest topic is our personal accountability in this lifetime.   Our service to others, to nature, to the supreme being.  I think of the bible story of Elijah, who listens for God’s call.  No storm, earthquake or noise reveals the Creator.  Finally, it is the tiniest of noises, a quiet, still small voice, that reveals Yahweh’s presence.   That voice, that tiny voice, is always present.  It is there for our hearing.  In some places of the world, you can sit still, and you will hear.  Other places, we deliberately choose to ruin that opportunity.