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Silence

Amidst nowhere.

Story by Marcin Konkel April 17th, 2017

Silence. A state hard to come by in nowadays society and in larger cities. The noise pollution is a real thing and is not only the problem of the streets of New York or London. We, ourselves, also pollute our minds by being on the phone and on the Internet all the time. It may be hard to find natural silence in these circumstances. Natural meaning the one represented only with the indigenous sounds of nature.

Few years back I learned to strive to maintain inner peace in me whenever I went. Yet, I cannot live for a longer period without shutting down and going to the mountains. The experience gives me a sense of accomplishment, beauty and.. silence. It fosters my creativity when I reconnect with myself. Recently, I found myself in low season with empty trails and, mostly, spoiled weather with only 1 day window for the sun to shine.

When you're in a mountain shelter with no guests in it or when you go on a 6, 10 or more kilometres hike and see nobody on the path you can feel truly alone. Alone with the nature and alone with your thoughts. No buzzing, no beeping, no sirens, no notifications, no nothing. Just you and the trail. What do you do then?

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You keep on walking and let various thoughts enter your mind. At first they come in bulk and relate to the petty things. These are things you forgot to do before you left, some planning, perhaps, for when you come back. You reiterate the route, check phone for messages. Anything that accompanies you on daily basis. With each step, though, those thoughts and actions subside leaving space for the more important things.

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Along the way, you might experience fear of being alone. In the city you are never alone. There are always people and means to connect and communicate. There is noise. Sometimes that noise makes us feel safe. On the other hand, when you are walking in a snowstorm where the visibility goes down dramatically and the only thing you can see (hardly) is your partners back - it provides you with another perspective. You know that whatever path you will choose it's hours before you find a shelter. You feel aloof from everyone and everything. Suspended in nothingness. Amidst nowhere.

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This might be the time when you pause and reevaluate things or just keep on walking in a state of mindfulness. You have "all the time in the world" and can rely only on yourself. With the next few hundred meters you realise that this starts to feel natural. The way it should be. The way it natively always was. You start reconnecting with yourself. Finally. The long awaited silence.

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Footnote: Nikon D750 + Tamron 24-70 f2.8 / April 2017
Karkonoski National Park, Jelenia Góra, Poland