Nov 20, 2010

The Sanctity of Silence

(Whinkla will have to wait)

Strange Interlude

It was five-forty in the evening and I was preparing a salad for dinner. My wife was not feeling well and had gone to the bedroom to rest. It was dark outside which made the kitchen seem that much warmer, at least visually. I was probably philosophizing about the state of things when suddenly I became aware I was no longer tearing lettuce leaves. My hands were still poised above the bowl but as motionless as stone. A flush of seemingly limitless tranquility had overwhelmed me. Only my eyes seemed capable of movement. I had become a snapshot of myself. There was absolute silence all around. I listened. Nothing, I could hear nothing. The refrigerator was between cycles. The one, non-digital clock must have already ticked away the previous minute. The water pump was silent. No sound came from the highway a hundred yards away. No barking dogs. Trees silent in the non-wind. For a moment I thought perhaps I had been struck deaf, so overwhelming was the lack of sound. It seemed something immensely denser than silence had filled the kitchen, the air was not vibrating with the myriad frequencies it usually carries, but sucking them in, creating, how can I describe it, a numbing vacuum. I didn’t move, nor want to, for to do so might shatter the sanctity of the moment.

Perhaps the clock finally ticked, or the refrigerator needed to cool itself, but just as suddenly as I had been enclosed in a cloak of unaccountable bliss, it ended. My fingers began to move again and I tore a lettuce leaf in half with a deafening sound.


VQ said...

Did you see the New York Times Book Review including the three books on Silence?

jsl said...

I like your description of silence here. Your writing made it easy to picture what that moment must have felt like.
JS Lambert