Noise and Haste

The opening line from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata: “Go placidly amongst the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

I have long admired that first line.  Ehrmann does not bemoan the “noise and haste,” doesn’t go on for lines thereafter about how awful noise is, how I need to slow down, or how in times past things were quieter and slower.  He doesn’t suggest that I find the source of and take it on myself to eradicate the noise, take something to lessen my anxiety, or fire up iTunes and overcome their noise with my own.  No, he instead invites me to remember, to “remember what peace there may be silence.”  This can, if I let it, instantly transport me from the “noise and haste” to a quiet moment under a canopy of trees in a still, sunlit forest, to a summer day sitting on a front porch swing with a good book in one hand and a glass of iced tea in the other.  Granted, when I return the “noise and haste” may still be there, probably is.  But somehow, they seem a bit less troublesome.

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