Silence in the Sand Dunes
Words and photos by Coalatree Ambassador Alex Palumbo. Check him out @alxpalumbo
Cold sand between bare toes
Pink skies above
And roaring silence.
Absolute silence is something I've never experienced in nature before. Sure, when one thinks of nature, the idea of idyllic peacefulness comes to mind. While that is true, nature is actually quite loud. Even a quaint forest has its share of sounds - from the chirping of birds, to the rustling of branches, to the flow of a stream - nature's sounds envelop us. I've never heard absolute silence in nature, and I never really expected it to be honest.
Until I experienced the sunset in White Sands, New Mexico. The silence among the sand dunes was deafening. The lack of wind and animals at first was unsettling. Humans live extremely loud lives whether we realize it or not. We are constantly surrounded by noise—some of it good, some bad. Even when we escape the city for a peaceful weekend of camping, it is not truly quiet. Everyone who has camped in a forest can tell you, the trees truly come to life at night—and that is part of the beauty of it.
Due to those experiences, I was thrown off by how quiet these sand dunes felt in comparison. I held my breath and slowly looked around. Through this silence, I felt fortunate to experience a new part of nature that has escaped me for all these years. The sand seemed to absorb everything around it, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
As the sun set and the light faded, it was replaced the light of billions of stars as they began to materialize out of the cosmos. We camped beneath these stars, wordless for hours watching the shooting stars pass by. For one night, this planet felt as silent as the vacuum of outer space—an otherworldly beauty which needs a deafening silence to appreciate even more.