A sense of quiet grows as I get further from the road and closer to the water. Once in the boat and on the pond the sound of the oars takes over, though they are barely audible and what I do hear of them is very pleasant.
There is something about the rowing position that is conducive to meditative, peaceful, experience. I believe it has much to do with looking astern. There is the sense of discovery as the world is slowly revealed to my peripheral vision, and I am allowed to linger on it as it gently gets farther away. This is such a great contrast to looking so far ahead to where one might be going, and then as the approach and can capture attention they are more understandable until the moment they suddenly pass out of ones vision.
Occasionally I look over my shoulder, usually one and then, the other. If I don't do this I run the risk of running straight up into something, but, what's ahead is not the focus, rather something to be aware of.
I think this has a lot to do with my preference for rowing over paddling.