Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I have lived in a busy, noisy, bustling city for quite awhile now. There is never any real quiet, no solitude. I hear traffic noise like static on an old television twenty-four hours a day. The neighbors upstairs have a large dog they leave alone all night at times, who then runs back and forth, whining every few moments. There is shouting in the alleys, cars screeching between buildings and kicking up bits of broken blacktop. Scavengers pulling apart garbage bags in Dumpsters while the people on the third floor drop another load off the back fire escape into the alleyway. Jets from LAX and Long Beach Municipal drone during the day, and police helicopters tend to hover around this area at night.

Only recently has all of this noise been grinding on my nerves. I think it began the afternoon I was waiting for the shuttle to work, standing by myself in the parking lot of the Crystal Cathedral, far enough away from the streets to not really hear the traffic. The quiet was just serene, and full, and it felt as though I could raise my arms and the breeze would lift me into the sky.

I think the closest quiet place, were I to set out from where I live, would be at least an hour's drive away. Maybe more. Yes, there are parts of the beach that are quiet, but then a helicopter passes overhead, going to Catalina Island... or people walk up and are talking loudly... a boat passes too closely to not be heard... I just want a place I can go, lie down on the grass, close my eyes, and be. I want to listen to the small rustlings of the leaves, feel the cool damp of the earth on my back as the sun warms my face. I want to listen to birdsong uninterrupted by machines and people's shouting.

Funny how, when I was in my early 20s, that was the farthest thing from an ideal spot to live. I wanted noise, bustle, neon lights and open all night stores. I wanted nightlife every night of the week. I wanted excitement and glamour and pseudolove. Now I could have that still if I really wanted it, but I don't. A little is fun, sure... but I want the clean, fresh open air, too. And I want trickling water that's not from a leaking faucet, birdsong not prerecorded, and to lie in sunlight from the actual star and not from electric bulbs in a claustrophobic bed.

Yes, this is all coming into consideration as I mull over moving.

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