The ear becomes so accustomed to the hum of the highway, the cadence of the urban commute, and the sharp shrieks walking by the playground on the way to the bus stop - - that right now out here under the trees, the silence feels like something I could actually reach out and touch. It's almost like the quiet protects me. All I can hear is the soft crunch of pine needles under my boots. The sun is filtering through the trees, leaving cold shadows still filled with morning mist and moonlit cold. Today was the first day I needed a jacket to head out here to my sanctuary. I come here in the mornings to find the silence, and walk hand in hand with it like a close, intimate friend.