I house-sit for a friend on occasion and it gives me a chance to spend time in the city. There are a few things you notice when you've been out in the country for a while: 1) in the city there are five grocery stores within walking distance instead of one market 12 miles away and 2)there is a constant hum in the city. I can hear all different types of noises during the day, but for some reason everything gets louder at night. I never noticed this before. When I first moved out to the country I became very aware of how unnervingly quiet everything was. Except for maybe a few birds hear and there dotted by the occasional motorcycle caravan on their way up the mountain. It was a different kind of hum that seemed to come from the earth itself. But getting used to the general silence and coming back to the city has increased my appreciation of the quiet.
How often do you sit and listen to nothing? No stereo, no TV, no phone. What would you hear if you did? The countryside is therapeutic, and not in the "peace and quiet" sort of way your grandparents love. No, it is not because it is quiet. It is because listening to nothing reminds us to listen to ourselves. The quiet grounds us, it reminds us how small we are but how big we could be. City living has its perks, but I really miss the sound the earth makes.