© Paul K. Anderson
On a tiny island, in the middle of Ross Lake, in the middle of the North Cascades, he stops and listens.
It is quiet.
Quiet allows time to be undistracted, time for self-reflection, and for self-discovery. Soon he begins to hear waves gently lapping against rocks, the wind rustling the needles on the fir trees, and the kayakers paddles rhythmically entering and leaving the water.
He hears the sound of Canadian Geese flying above, and the Stellar Jay squawking for a handout. He hears his breath moving first in, then out. He hears his heartbeat.
The other children soon join him and the spell is quickly broken. A contest starts on who can toss the largest rock and make the biggest karploosh!
But for one brief moment on a tiny island, in the middle of a large lake, in the middle of a national park, a young man found solitude and quiet.
And for the rest of his life, in his most stressful moments, in the middle of a large city, in the dinning, cacophonous sounds of urban life, he may choose to pause and remember.
He will remember the snow on the mountain tops, the sound of the wind, the flutter and gyrations of a Big Leaf Maple leaf as it flutters to the ground, the luminous blue of the Stellar Jay, and the cedar and fir infused scents of fresh air.
And for another brief moment, he again finds the solitude and the quiet.