This past summer, I decided to explore some new places within proximity to where I live, to take “day trips.” A friend told me about the Quigley General Store with a little cafe on the Klamath River. “They make the best pies,” she said.
The Klamath River flows 257 miles through Oregon and Northern California. Quigley, itself, is about 1-1/2 hours from where I live. Arriving at the little cafe, I immediately noticed the extreme quiet. This particular day, there weren’t any exciting pies in the pie case, so I ordered a turkey sandwich. And a water beverage with quinine? I had never had quinine before, but my mind dredged up the idea of it being an elixir of sorts.
I wandered out to the back deck, the only customer. The plants in pots were dead. The river itself was hidden with overgrowth and there wasn’t the expected sound of flowing water. I had brought a favorite magazine to read and sat in a chair with a wet pad. I changed seats and then got comfortable. It was a warm day. The type of heat that penetrates and forces welcome relaxation. Sigh.
One of the scraggly young men in the cafe brought my lunch out to me. I thanked him. He and a heavyset fellow seemed to be either wandering around aimlessly or plopped themselves in chairs indoors as the woman, presumed owner, worked busily behind the counter. I found myself thinking that they should be helping her.
The sandwich was exceptional and so was the coleslaw. At first, I was disappointed in not having a slice of the “best pie.” And that I couldn’t hear the river running? And that the plants on the deck had died because the owner had been away and no one had watered while she was gone.
Then, a sense of deep calm came over me. A feeling of settling down inside. And I thought I could sit here all day, reading this magazine and being with this unusual feeling of palpable peace.
Driving home from Quigley on the Klamath, I recognized how much my life lacks this type of peace. I considered how often I fill my moments with noise, hyperactivity and distraction. I wondered why I had to go somewhere else to sink into that most beautiful space?
When was the last time you experienced deep quiet? Is it something that you can invoke by choice? Or does it, at rare times, take you by surprise? Write about it.