itches + sounds

sitting in my friend’s family room, in the middle of the woods in rural Vermont, I realized it was the first time in forever – probably since I last visited them – where I couldn’t hear urban white noise of any sort. no neighbors, no low hum of cars in the distance, no airplanes. in this kind of silence, I could hear that the fire doesn’t just crackle, it has a low and even, persistent hiss. I could hear my pen on my paper writing at a normal speed and normal pressure. a dish going in the sink sounded more precise.

my brain felt like it was off-gassing. even if you live in a quiet suburban neighborhood like I do, there’s this sort of constant, light energetic tone of civilization happening in the background that you don’t really notice until it’s not there.

a lot of times, I’ll get this weird gut emptiness asking me to go somewhere, and usually I will oblige by going to my favorite wildlife sanctuary. but I can literally never get rid of that feeling satisfactorily, I usually just have to let it fade eventually. it feels itchy. hearing the fire hiss I realized that what the emptiness is asking for is not really outside, it’s asking for silence. a silence that isn’t fully silent, a silence that doesn’t have an undercurrent of excess information.

(silent doesn’t look like a word to me anymore)