You Cannot Find Peace By Avoiding

loudnoise“I wonder what they’re doing?” 

I thought this as a big-muscled construction worker with a hard hat, heavy boots, and an orange vest dragged a “Road Closed” sign into place at the end of my street.

This is a big intersection only a block from my cottage. A heavily driven route right along Lake Washington, a long deep lake only a stone’s throw from this intersection.

(No, I don’t have a dock and I’m not on the water. Did you have to bring that up right now? I’m busy trying to investigate another thought about the neighborhood!)

So where was I.


Construction worker closing the big intersection one block away, at the end of the street where I live.

I forget about it until a few hours later, when I walk with my empty grocery bags to the corner Haggen store for supplies.

As I cross the same big intersection, this time on foot, I peer down the strangely-empty arterial, usually two lanes of traffic going north, and two going south.

Now there were about ten construction worker guys, about three bulldozers, a few cop cars with lights blinking.

After unpacking groceries, I look up on the city website to jog my memory about what’s happening.

It’s called the Flood Mitigation Project.

Mitigating a flood. And helping the salmon during spawning season find their way upstream.

OK. Sounds like a reasonable plan.

You go, little town of Lake Forest Park!

Stop the floods in the winter! (When sometimes the water in the creeks rise up so high this same road is underwater and peoples’ basements are flooded)! Help the fish!

Why not. If my taxes went to this, good.

My husband comes home in the evening and comments as he enters the house “Wow, serious traffic from the construction project.”

We forget all about it and go to bed later.

And then.


The cottage actually shakes and we hear cracking, pounding, smashing and thumping noises.

At 1:30 am.

We smell big-truck diesel fumes and hear huge motors and roaring.

We have to close the window, even though its a gorgeous summer night and a little warmish.


They continue.

That was 3.5 days ago. The pounding is still underway.


As in, all the time.

Inquiry on noise. My favorite.

Did you know they actually have a name for people who are bugged by noises?


Who would I be without the belief this is too annoying, it shouldn’t wake me up, when will this be over with, how much did this cost again, I think other neighbors have left town, I should have cancelled my meet-up, if the city had told me earlier it was going to be this intrusive….

Without any of those thoughts? About noise?

Wow. Funny.

I hear big-truck back-up beeps right now in this moment, and the house just literally shook again. From the Flood Mitigation Project. That’s helping salmon.

I watch the imagination kick in with the question “who would I be without this thought about noise?”

Recalling many meditation retreats when things made sounds.

Cell phones, trains in the distance, wind rustling leaves, horns, engines, birds, hums of refrigerators, someone opening and shutting the microwave, distant airplanes, wind chimes, human voices, bangs, bells, gongs, whistles, toilets flushing.


Noticing almost never is there complete and total silence.

Maybe never. Ever. Sound appears.

Who would I be without the belief any of this is bad?


It doesn’t mean I have to love it.

I COULD go stay with friends, or my mom.

But I notice, I don’t.

In some ways, I’m kind of amazed by the abundance of it all.

Somewhat entertained by all the noise and this hilarious story.

Laughing with neighbors about sleep.

Walking over to watch the construction ant-hill at night with huge spotlights and a gigantic tall crane that moves huge slabs of concrete and metal into a tunnel shape in the hole in the ground.

Marveling at human capacity to build, create, change, diverge and solve physical problems.

Just like my big operation 18 months ago now pinning hamstring back to pelvic bone….

….I didn’t have to do it. The surgeon did it.

And I definitely did not like it, but I actually paid him to do it.

I was asleep.

Which is what I was most of the nights these past three nights, even if there were a few bangs and thuds where I was awakened off and on.

Noticing at the Sunday afternoon meet-up, only one person made it out of ten who had RSVP’d, and the traffic congestion made her 30 minutes late, so I got to sit and write.

And then it was the sweetest personal inquiry with such brilliant awareness, about “mother”.

The concept of “Mother”…

…sometimes the very same as “noise”.

Giving “noise” and “mother” attention, allowing it to be there and do what it does whether interrupting, asserting itself, expressing itself.

Allowing space to investigate, waking me up.


How is it a good thing this noise is occurring every day, every night?

I’m sleeping a little less, producing a little more. I am aware of people who are specialists helping to address a repetitive problem called a “flood”. I get to have a great laugh with neighbors in the driveway.

I like eating salmon.

I get to see how it doesn’t matter one way or another.

As a friend of mine said recently “it ain’t nothing but a jellybean.”

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” ~ Virginia Wolff

You cannot find peace by avoiding all noise.

You cannot find peace by avoiding your thoughts, about noise.

You cannot find peace by avoiding.

Do The Work.

Much love,


3 Replies to “You Cannot Find Peace By Avoiding”

  1. Grace dear, lovely post about night noises. Since being found by the work am making friends with night waking, opportunity to inquire in peace about whatever disturbs my sleep, to be happy with my thoughts. Thought you might perhaps enjoy this recent BBC radio 4 programme about silence > Love, Leaf

  2. Misophonia–so that’s what it’s called! Awesome post, and I’m resonating as we experience many human-made nighttime sounds in many motels that “should be quieter” in these scenic towns we pass through.

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