The Sound of Silence

Quiet, peaceful forest

When was the last time you were in the presence of quiet, of silence? I had that experience yesterday, and it was wonderful. It happened because of a sequence of events that were unplanned.

On Mother’s Day we drove down Highway 1 to Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park hoping to see some whales. The park is about 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay. We also had planned to picnic there. We did see some whales migrating north, about a mile off shore. It was very windy at the park, so sometimes it was hard to tell what was a wave and what was the spray from the whales.

It was too windy at the park to have a picnic, so we went to Butano State Park, nearby to find a sheltered area from the wind. Although we were only a few miles from the ocean, Butano’s picnic area was quiet and peaceful, and not windy at all.

redwood forestAfter lunch we decided to walk through the forest. Some folks who were having lunch suggested a route and we started walking. It wound up being a 2 1/2 hour walk through the forest, along a fire road and then back through the forest.

Butano is tucked away off the road and it doesn’t get a lot of visitors. We came across only a handful of people while we were walking.

In Muir Woods there is an area called Cathedral Grove, but in the redwood forest at Butano, it felt like the whole forest was a cathedral. It was so quiet. No sounds of cars and trucks, no crowds of people talking, no planes flying overhead. Just the sound of the forest breathing. Sometimes a bird, especially owls, could be heard. But mostly what you heard was the silence. It took a moment to get used to it and appreciate it.

It was a wonderful experience and we look forward to going back again to our new cathedral grove.

whale and sprayAfter we left Botano, we went back to Pigeon Point. Shortly after getting there we saw a group of whales in the little bay near the park heading out to the ocean. They were about a half mile away and it was easy to spot them and see their sprays and backs.

We felt so blessed to have these wonderful experiences. This was our first time whale watching and we saw 5 or 6. My wife wants to make this outing our annual Mother’s Day event. I’m looking forward to next year.


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