Today’s Word: ‘silence’ (redux) as in… “Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything.” So said Gordon Hempton, the founder of One Square Inch of Silence.
One Square Inch of Silence is very possibly the quietest place in the United States. It is an independent research project located in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park, which is one of the most pristine, untouched, and ecologically diverse environments in the United States. If nothing is done to preserve and protect this quiet place from human noise intrusions, natural quiet may be non-existent in our world in the next 10 years.
Silence is a part of our human nature, which can no longer be heard by most people. Close your eyes and listen for only a few seconds to the world you live in, and you will hear this lack of true quiet, of silence. Refrigerators, air conditioning systems, and airplanes are a few of the things that have become part of the ambient sound and prevent us from listening to the natural sounds of our environment. It is our birthright to listen, quietly and undisturbed, to the natural environment and take whatever meanings we may from it. By listening to natural silence, we feel connected to the land, to our evolutionary past, and to ourselves. One Square Inch of Silence is in danger, unprotected by policies of the National Park Service, or supported by adequate laws. Our hope is that by listening to natural silence, it will help people to become true listeners to their environment, and help us protect one of the most important and endangered resources on the planet, silence.