Living in a city, I have grown accustomed to a certain amount of noise. When I’m outside, the sounds of birdcalls, barking dogs, leaf blowers, and car engines tend to meld into a kind of background music I barely even notice. By contrast, when we visit my in-laws’ place in Surry (population 1,466), I am alternately struck by the solitude and how loud everything is. Over Thanksgiving weekend, we took many walks along the camp roads near their home on Toddy Pond, sporting as much blaze-orange gear as we could cobble together. On each outing, the drumbeat of a hawk’s wings, shrill banter of red squirrels, and deep moans of tree limbs shifting and ice heaving pierced the vast quiet, snapping us out of whatever conversation or thoughts we were having. Here, eleven miles from the nearest town center, virtually every noise seemed significant, symphonic, and deserving of attention.
Unable to tune out, I tuned into the artful patterns in the windblown fields along Toddy Pond Road, the long shadows cast by evergreens on pine-needled lawns, and the seemingly infinite variations among cozy lakefront log cabins.
Right now, I’m feeling like hibernating in one of these for the winter would be perfectly lovely — what do you think?