Quiet. An early Saturday afternoon. Cicadas whir, birds chirr. Leaves stir in the fickle breeze. The sky is a dull-white dome from east to west, north to south.
Late summer tomatoes and basil pesto. Loaf of bread from the farmer’s market, baked and dusted with corn meal from a farm up on the Coosawattee River.
Somewhere out there, the 7,363,357,000 people who share this planet with me — including you of course — are busy being born, sleeping fitfully, eating too much, laughing soundlessly, driving recklessly, falling in love, bagging groceries, walking down a street, weeding a garden, talking on a phone, waiting tables, making love, writing a poem, reading a blog, taking the train, watching television, formulating a thought, offering an opinion, feeling guilt, hanging from a cliff, stroking a cat, building a shelter, staring in awe, cowering, carrying a baby, walking a dog, painting her nails, making a decision, sorting through trash, making a diagnosis, weeping, feeling hope, feeling pain, shouting slogans, shouting for help, shouting for joy, getting married, getting buried.
Here, not so much. Instead, it’s quiet.
I sit. I reflect. From time to time, I read a sentence and marvel at the extraordinary prose and seemingly effortless insightfulness of Proust.
And yet this was not to say that she did not now and then aspire to some greater change, that she did not experience those exceptional moments when we thirst for something other than what we have, and when people who from a lack of energy or imagination cannot find a course of renewal in themselves ask the next minute that comes, the postman as he rings, to bring them something new, even if it is something worse, some emotion, some sorrow; when our sensibility, which happiness has silenced like an idle harp, wants to resonate under some hand, even a rough one, and even if it might be broken by it; when the will, which has with such difficulty won the right to surrender unimpeded to its own desires, to its own afflictions, would like to throw the reins into the hands of imperious events, even if they may be cruel.
From this I look up and see that the sun has emerged. Out in our backyard, under the trees, light and shadow engage in a lively dance. For themselves alone, though I am mute and marveling witness. The new warmth in the air freshens the breeze. What if the passage of time made a sound like this wind as it passes through the treetops? Perhaps then we could truly welcome the changeless quiet, and dismiss thoughts of “something other than what we have,” the better to remark our own journey through this tangible world.