Although my husband was out of town, I spent yesterday afternoon with a good friend walking through Forest Hills Gardens, an English Garden Community in New York City. The walk probably only qualifies for about less than a quarter of our daily walks on the Coast to Coast, but it was an excellent reminder of the fabulous conversations we have when we are in motion.
When writing about walking the North Woods, I ended on this idea and it something to which I have been meaning to return for some time. I don’t think that tonight after having spent the last 24 hours writing a 36 page report for work, I have enough energy to truly describe the exhilaration of walking our way through a conversation. That will have to wait for another night. Instead, I want to spend a few moments on the importance of companionable silence.
On our first cross-country drive, almost eight years ago, we listened to CD’s along the way, which helped to interrupt some of the monotony of a three week drive. On our second drive cross-country, we were headed West after a year of long distance and had only four days to drive from one side of the US to the other. There was plenty to say on this trip, if for no other reason than to keep one another awake as we meandered through the Rockies. On our third and final cross-country drive back to the East Coast, my Chevy was on its last legs. Neither the air conditioning, nor the heat worked. My husband had to refresh his memory of Pride and Prejudice for a course he was teaching so he had tried to listen to the novel as a book on tape and the third cassette was permanently lodged in the tape deck. Our choice of audio was limited to Chapters 9-12 of Pride and Prejudice, discussion or silence. Although we always have quite a bit to discuss, over the course of our two week travels, much of the time together was spent in silence, observing the scenery, and conversing with our own thoughts. It was lovely.
The time spent side by side, without the need to utter a word, can be just as enjoyable as the hearty discussions that alternately bring us insights and solace.