Peace ‘n Quiet

When I found out last night that my planned trail at Circle B wouldn’t go ahead today, I was frustrated. It is still closed after the hurricane of a month ago and I needed to come up with a backup plan, if I intended getting any worthwhile shots this weekend.

With the clock not having gone back yet, it gave me a good window to work with and still be able to get to shoot a twilight somewhere. So, I decided on St Pete as my port of call for what looked like a clear morning.

It was pitch dark when I left home and along the way, I adjusted my landing spot to be Demens Landing, which is a little south of where I initially thought I was heading.

I got there a good hour before sunrise and am happy to report that the drive was worthwhile, as the combination of clear skies and moderately cool temperature created a lovely warm glow on the horizon, when twilight decided to happen for me.

I was in the latter part of my picture taking when I saw my first “other human”. It was a couple of ladies who appeared out of the darkness near where I was standing and jogged by on their way north towards the pier.

By the time I left, the sun hadn’t yet broken the horizon but there were many more joggers that ran past on their way somewhere.

That initial half hour though, was a wonderfully quiet period where the only sounds were of the lapping waters of the bay against the rocks in front of me. And the only sights were the ones I was pointing my camera towards.

I hope you enjoy my offering at the end of the blog.

As I returned to the car, my ears began to tune into traffic noises and the noises of people talking to each other and I realized just how quiet I had it, when I stood there earlier taking pictures.

That’s where the idea of this blog came from; the whole notion of finding real peace and quiet. And more importantly, recognizing when you have it.

You see, oftentimes we only realize that we have something precious in our lives when it is gone.

That was me this morning. I didn’t for a minute think about how peaceful and quiet it was until all of a sudden, I am back at my car and the noises of a city and people were everywhere.

Peace and quiet is a valuable commodity. There was a time in this world, when it was freely available but now with overpopulation, increased urbanization, and the constant level of intrusion that we all experience … well, frankly it is almost a thing of the past.

A classic example for me is that I get on average 7 to 10 spam calls a day on my cell. I also average around 40 to 50 spam emails across my three mailboxes.

This equates to around 3,000 spam calls a year and 15,000 emails that I have to delete in that same period of time.

I have gotten to the point where I scream abuse at anyone whose spam call I mistakenly answer. People in my orbit have chastised me for some of the outbursts they have heard me level at these indian call centers.

But the reality is that when the only peace and quiet you get is in your sleep, then all of a sudden death becomes attractive to you.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet with his line “To sleep. Perchance to dream” identifies that even in sleep, we are not guaranteed peace and quiet. Dreams may be disruptive or bad even.

Therefore the final sleep of death begins to sound attractive to him, until he wonders if perhaps you end up dreaming in that one, too!”

So, I guess the message I am trying to say here is that this world has developed into a chaotic place that rarely gives us any peace and quiet.

Which means, that the onus is on us to occasionally give it to ourselves.

I recall, as a young boy being sent on a retreat at the priests’ college in Limerick and while their focus might have been a hope to instill some religious fervor in me (they failed, btw), the aspect of being cut off from all external communication for a short period was a wonderful experience.

However your week ahead plays out, try to carve out a little “me time” for yourself and shut off the outside world for just a little while. It can work wonders for the spirit.

If you do find god in the process, do feel free to tell him I said to fuck off for being such an asshole to give cancer to little kids and make animals vulnerable to the evil that lies within each of his human creations.

… just a thought!