What a contrast the busy two lane highway is outside of my bedroom window, compared to the silence in my Dad’s house in Sedona when I lived there.
The silence in Sedona was tangible. Sometimes it was so quiet, it seemed you could actually hear the stars twinkling in the night. Now, in my new home west of Sedona, a stream of large trucks roar by on the highway. Fire trucks and ambulances scream by nearly every day, sometimes more than once. The soft, but steady, swooshing of other cars carrying people on their way to work, school, church, or errands fills the air. And, there is the inevitable honking of horns of displeasure, as people jockey for position on the highway.
I lived in the silence of Sedona for thirty years, and was surprised when the highway noise at my new residence didn’t upset me or bother me, but rather lulled me to sleep the first night that I slept here. I even felt a bit nostalgic when I heard those sounds. They reminded me of growing up in Los Angeles, where not a minute went by without noise filling the air, be it cars, trucks, emergency vehicles, lawnmowers, construction, or the sounds of jets and helicopters flying overhead. They brought memories of the smells of a delicious breakfast waking me up on a Saturday morning, and the comfort of my Mom’s morning hug as I wiped the sleep out of my eyes, and morning cartoons on the black and white television set. Memories of shopping malls, discos in the late 70s, a first kiss under the stars, and long bus rides to college on a rare and glorious blue sky day came flooding back to me. Hearing the bustling sounds of the highway was delicious to my ears, and I snuggled under my blankets soaking in the memories that accompanied every zip and zoom.
But then, I noticed that around 1am, I would awaken to the sounds of motorcycles screeching and zooming past at terrifying and impossible speeds under the dark desert skies. Then, at 2am, they were accompanied by the sounds of cars revving up, sometimes with horns blaring, as they raced to get home after a night of working at the neighborhood bars, or maybe after a night of drinking good whiskey.
These sounds were accompanied by late night thoughts and scenarios that traipsed through my groggy head, and I found myself worrying about the coyotes, javelina, rabbits, deer and others who might cross the road in front of one of those vehicles, and I couldn't help imagining the tragedy that could possibly ensue for all, including the drivers.
To ease my restless, racing mind, hoping to return to blissful slumber, I began to pray hard--especially for the multitudes of motorcycle riders who were no doubt enjoying the exuberance and freedom of driving fast on the mostly empty stretches of highway. But, my prayers didn’t settle my concerns that were fueled by an overactive, sleep deprived mind that was filled with “what ifs.”
And then, one morning around 3am, as the sounds on the highway intensified once again as construction workers, shop owners and other early morning risers sped on their way to work, a thought crossed my mind: I would drape an energetic curtain of love across the highway for them to drive through, to encourage them to slow down. I imagined a soft, beautiful, pink chiffon curtain of love being draped across the highway. I waited and listened for what happened next. The inevitable roar, zoom, and zzzzzzing of trucks, cars and motorcycles traveling much too fast came at a distance. Then, something beautiful happened. I heard downshifting of engines and vehicles gently coasting as they passed through the Curtain of Love, and they gently cruised off into the day.
The roar, zoom, and zzzzzzing in my mind had stopped. I downshifted to sleep as I finally slowed down.