Disquieting Amblings   Leave a comment

The air was crisp and cool this morning, which is odd for late May in the south.  The sun poked its head through the clouds for the first time in a week and invited me to come enjoy it, so I packed up the dogs and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Once the sun had tricked me outside, he decided his work was done for the day and tugged the clouds back over his head to get some shut-eye.  The first pull-off had only three parked cars (it often has 8-9), and since a passing trail  and gravel road offered four hiking directions, I figured the odds were good for avoiding folks, an introvert’s prerequisite for enjoying nature.  As I was leashing up the dogs, another car pulled up behind us.

They might take the trail or the gravel road either direction, so the odds were with us as we headed south on the road.  Even if they came our way, they might be mountain bikers or joggers that would soon pass us and be gone, but just in case, we set out at a brisk pace.  We were a block ahead when I turned and saw the couple following, also at a quick stride, and I could hear their loud chatter.  Oh, this is going to ruin our walk, I grumbled, and set off running down the road in my hiking boots to put a quarter mile of quiet between us.  That worked fine until Mazie went into search mode for the ideal poop spot.  After several failed forays and body positions, she found her sweet spot, but by then I could hear several low phlegm-clearing harrumphs followed by his partner’s high-pitched gossip.  We had just passed a fork in the road, so I stood waiting to see which direction they would take, and when they came our way, we promptly turned back to take the other fork.

Problem solved.  My soul just started to settle into the peace of nature when I heard the distinct “crunch, crunch” of feet on the gravel behind us, and a loud voice calling out, “Well, HELLO!” Like we were long lost relatives.  I half-turned to mutter “hey” at a volume I’m sure she couldn’t hear, and then it began, “Isn’t it great to be able to get out after all that rain?!”  This was said at our backs before she had jogged up to us, but as she pulled level she slowed her jog to match my quick walk, commenting on my cute dogs and the weather.  In desperation I slowed down and then stood still, and her momentum carried her forward enough to break the easy flow of her monologue.  She kept jogging, and I muttered, “I’ll never take this road again!”

For full-on extroverts, talking is the only real and meaningful activity and everything else, including nature’s beauty, is so much background noise… for the hard-core, even the other person’s voice is background noise.  Of course, it is only their vocalization which makes them differ from the rest of us who chatter incessantly in our own brains.  I’ve ruined enough of my solitary walks with an agitated spirit to recognize my own tendency to drown out the soul-nourishing present moment with my internal dialogue. It is hard enough to contend with the voices in my own head without adding the jibber-jabber of strangers.  This is why we introverts seek solitude.

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Posted May 30, 2017 by janathangrace in Personal

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