Fourth Week in November
Add chatter, layer upon the consonances, laughter and hemming, and the disconnected versation builds to an aharmonic tessitura. The vocal multitude aligns into striations compressing meaningful thoughts to the specialized physics of acoustics. A tumble of phonemes either sparkling with joy or dully greying the air with poorly enunciated muttering and in the mix a rotating staccato element. Silence. Time to breathe. An opportunity to excavate the spoken world.
One’s own vocal silence is seldom quiet. It is a pause in speech but a bustle of thought in preparation for entry into the atmosphere. The quiet I’m promoting is one absent of thought or as close as we can get to thought-zero. I cannot say where this quiet occurs with greater frequency. It could be the party or it could be in solitude. I know that I am as likely to catch upon a word exclaimed by a person in a crowded room as I am to catch upon a word suddenly apparent in my own brain. No matter. It is the quiet between the catches that holds us.
It is the quiet of the world escaping definition. It is the layered texture of the rise and fall of multiple exquisite noise makers: voice boxes, air rushing past tongues and teeth; hands grasping, clapping, releasing; feet falling on wood and rug; walls pulling on fabric; bodies sinking into or emerging from seats. It is also the internal, muffled noise makers. The ones, perhaps, you wouldn’t think of as great contributors to the racket but are nonetheless pulsing, pumping, and beating away. Your rushing blood, your pumping heart, your expanding and contracting guts and lungs, your stretching and linking ligaments and tendons, your thunderous, rumbling innards, all adding a little something to the incessant din.
Unlearn the above paragraph. If not, learn this, too: I’ve defined some components of the world so we can know them, but you needn’t know them by name, just by presence.There is no silence. Quiet is a state of mind, one of ambient, distinctionless, humming. Accept all sounds. Let the acoustics bounce off all of you, not just your specialized ears, thereby transcending their function as carriers of content and emerging as an acoustic bath that will press you in all directions like a womb.