Musing on Silence

How do I write silence, explain the space between words, between thoughts, between moments in time, between the inhale and the exhale? Does silence even really exist?  Is there really no sound in silence?

What about the low pitched buzz of the refrigerator, the water circulating through the swamp cooler, the delicate thump of a cat launching itself from desktop to floor?  And if you listen, really listen, can’t you hear the high pitched digital whine of the computer, the clock radio, the cable box, the printer.

Even in nature there is no silence.  Can’t you hear the air move through the dry branches and leaves of  the elm trees, through the sage brush, the creosote?

Taos Vista

Don’t you know the sound of a purple blossom dropping from a desert willow? And what about the sound of prairie dogs scrambling from hole to hole while the lizard hunts for shade?

Can I paint silence?

What color would it be?Is it black or white or a thousand shades of blue?

Yellow seems too joyful to be silent.

Is silence golden? or is it bronze or silver or slivered into pieces like almonds on a mandarin orange salad?

Is it dark or is it light? Is it big or is it tall or wide or soft and fluffy like a cotton candy cloud? Or is it hard like concrete? Can I stub my toe on silence?

Sometimes I want to wallow in silence, roll around in it as if it were a grassy meadow dotted with purple mountain lilies or a warm ocean bay.  But there is no silence at the shore:  the wind on water, waves lapping onto sandy beach, the crunch of sand between my toes, the hermit crab, the splash of a dolphin.

Sometimes I can’t help myself, I want to break the silence, shatter it with a hammer, watch it spider like windshield glass or crumble like old bones.   Silence is scary.  Too much silence and I could begin to think too much, do too little.  Too much silence could set free the voices locked in a vault in the back of my mind.  Would I be frozen in that space between thoughts?  Or could I grab onto one thought and follow it out my ear or my eye to a place I haven’t yet heard?

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