One would be forgiven for supposing that if we work hard enough, we will eventually find a few solitary moments in our busy day or week that are entirely our own. For many of us, quiet sometimes feels like a luxury we can ill afford as we have become so attuned to the idea that if we are being quiet and doing nothing, then nothing will be achieved. In fact, the opposite is true, humans need tranquility, it allows us to be at ease, to recharge and restore our sense of perspective and equilibrium.
In an increasingly complex, fast paced world where we are bombarded by information, noise and distraction it is easy to lose sight of those rarer moments of quiet that we can luxuriate in and which are uniquely our own. We don’t necessarily need to look far to find the less frenetic cadence of modern life. Some are drawn to the mountains for solitude, to be humbled by nature or for introspection and absolute quiet. Others find their escape in a favorite coffee shop, taking a drive to nowhere in particular, waking early in the stillness of the morning or diving into a book. The opportunities to relish in the simple pleasures of life are still many and varied but sometimes easily forgotten.
The search for quiet however brings with it an internal challenge, a challenge that is a prerequisite to finding relief from the noise. How much are we willing to unplug, to pay attention and be still, even stop for a while and really listen for those rarer moments that are luxuriously quiet?
Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to make a last minute trip with my family to Lindisfarne. The prospect of being away for a few days, to unwind and relax in the absence of any digital distraction certainly had it's appeal. Lindisfarne or as it is sometimes called, Holy Island, is a tiny tidal island located off the north east coast of England and just a few miles short of the border with Scotland. It is an isolated island accessible only by one road that appears and disappears twice a day with the ebb and flow of the tide. Go in the high season and the island is inundated with visitors from near and afar. Visit in the low season and Lindisfarne restores its own sense of peace and tranquility, reverting to a sleepy fishing village with a small priory and castle and unassumingly beautiful beaches.
We arrived at the edge of the mainland as the sun was fading and the sky was darkening. The tide was in and the road was completely submerged, prohibiting access to the island until the following morning. After a comfortable night, we breakfasted early and drove back to the edge of the mainland to find the road slowly surfacing out of the water. It is a beautiful drive out across the two mile causeway, flanked on either side by the North Sea and with the outline of the Farne Islands in the distance.
We spent the day immersed in wild coastal beauty, exploring the beaches and rock pools and relishing in the fact that we had escaped everyday life for just a little while. Even with the steady hum of visitors to the island, it is still possible to find a quiet corner of one’s own. Nestled in amongst the rocky beaches, feeling the sea breeze and watching the weathered fishing boats bobbing rhythmically is escapism at its best.
The departure from the world of running a business, aligning hectic schedules and international travel makes life tricky to navigate. It takes time to shed the layers of stress and strain. In these quieter spaces, however, away from the noise and the interruptions that are so many and varied the necessity for peace and quiet ushers in a renewed significance. Lindisfarne is the antithesis of modern world hustle and bustle. It is the ideal place for introspection, for mind wandering and for slowing down to reacquaint oneself with the luxury of quiet.