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by Richard, Star Temple Psychic
Usually we find this solitude in our own homes, but sometimes we seek calm by visiting other places. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s were the problem starts. Being the social animals we are, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re bound to tell others of the wonderfully tranquil spot weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve found, and they in turn tell others. Before you know it, that idyllic spot is developed with holiday homes and amusement arcades.
So, we travel further afield to find that oasis of calm. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure that when that intrepid traveler in the 1950Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s mentioned to his or her friend that they had found a delightfully quaint fishing village in Spain named Torremolinos, they could not imagine that within a decade it would be transformed, along with the rest of the Costa del Sol into a land of hotels, discos and pedalos. Then, as the cost of air travel became cheaper, the world shrank until it was hard to find a spot on this planet that hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t got Ã¢â‚¬ËœYe Olde English PubÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ catering to the needs of people getting away from it all.
But there are still places on this planet that can be regarded as the quietest natural places on earth. For example, Antarctica with itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s icy wastelands, or the Gobi desert where the vast tundra is more or less uninhabited save for the occasional nomadic tribesman going about his business. So, if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking for a destination free from noise and bustle and you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind losing body parts to frostbite or being a delicacy for the bears, then these could be the places to go for the trainee misanthrope.
The quietest place on earth however is man-made. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the quietest place is an anechoic chamber in Minnesota, USA, used to test audio equipment. The lowest threshold that that the human ear can receive sound is 0db (incidentally the background noise in a city is 50db) yet this facility has been measured at -9.4db. Apparently, no person has been able to remain in the room for very long. In the complete absence of external noise, the sounds of the blood rushing around the body, the air entering and leaving the lungs and the buzzing of the ears become overwhelming. In this alien environment, the mind is disorientated and the experience is described as unnerving. The owners have offered a case of beer to anyone who can remain in the chamber for 45 minutes. The prize remains unclaimed.
Usually we seek places where we are comfortable and within reach of human comforts. I was born and raised in a major industrial city, full of noise and bustle. Back in the 60Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and 70Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, when the city was still an industrial heartland, the city reverberated with the sounds of the factories churning out their products 24 hours a day. This lullaby of clanking, whirring, and grinding lulled us to sleep. Because the noise was always there, we became immune to it except for Christmas time when all the factories closed down. There were no buses or trains running and since not many people owned cars, the roads were empty. A brief tranquility descended on the city and for a day or so, and the silence made the holidays magical. I suppose it was that memory of tranquility that led me to move from the city to the countryside.
Being a clairsentient, I need peace and quiet so I tend to avoid noisy crowded places. Without sounding weird, not only do I hear noise but I also pick up on peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s emotions. The positive emotions are quite pleasant, but the negative ones are overwhelming. I`ve abandoned many a shopping trip to avoid the feeling of being strapped to a massive subwoofer at a Metallica concert.
I made my escape to the country initially to a village just on the edge of the industrial conurbation, living in a cottage wedged between a river and a canal. I moved in during winter and at first, compared to the city, it was peaceful - although the faint hum of the city could still be heard. That changed in spring when the boating season began. For eight months, the air was filled by the sounds of boat owners getting away from their busy lifestyles. The chugging of the diesel engines, the excited chatter of the boaters socializing, and the portable generators providing the power for televisions or power tools fractured the calm.
However, I accepted that compared to the city it was still an oasis of serenity where enjoyment and relaxation could be found. But there was one noise I grew to dread. It would start as a quiet rumble then grow to a gravel-crushing crescendo as the hordes of Lycra clad cyclists swarmed down the towpath as if practicing a sprint stage on the Tour de France. This was usually accompanied by the raised voices of boaters and pedestrians who jumped out of their way to avoid injury, causing the cyclists to retort with expletive-ridden tirades of abuse. As soon as the swarm disappeared in a cloud of dust another squadron of marauders would descend to re-enact the ritual.
So I moved again further into rural obscurity to a village nestled on the border between England and Wales. The only noises heard at night are the sheep-saying goodnight to each other like woolly versions of the TV Waltons, and foxes yelping, and badgers shuffling around. Some nights you can hear a mouse sneezing but to me it is the quietest place in the world where I can contemplate such issues as; if a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around does it make a noise? The answer I have arrived at is who cares, its not going to disturb my peace.
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