“We cannot think originally and be ourselves without quiet. Silence
is the think tank of the soul. It is there that deep changes occur.”
Gordon Hempton said this to me as we sat in the dense moss of the Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Park. We had been chatting for nearly an hour as dew collected on the tips of evergreen needles. The drops fell from mossy tree limbs thousands of years old, landing softly on the rainforest floor. Despite our muted voices, the silence made me feel as though we were the only animals present for miles.
Nearing the end of my time spent with Gordon in the Olympic National Park, I felt a deep change inside of me. It was here that our weeklong discussions of sound, silence, listening, and the need to preserve our most naturally silent spaces was self-evident.
It is Gordon’s hope, and mine as well, to encourage an appreciation for a natural silence, that is imperiled by human noise such as airplanes, highways, construction, and other intrusions. This hope is rooted in our desire to protect the few remaining quiet places in the U.S. As Gordon puts it: “when you're in a quiet place, it becomes obvious. It is the way life was meant to be”.
- Palmer Morse, 2016