Friday, June 17, 2011


I have always heard, and believed, that there no place is quieter than out in the country. Sitting on any given back porch of any given house at any given moment; with the greatest of ease- there it is- silence. No "hustle and bustle" or cars rumbling by, just good, old fashion, peace and quiet.

Here is my bold statement for the day: They (whoever they are) are lying. The "country" is one of the loudest places screaming in silence that I have ever heard.

Right now, I am sitting on the balcony of our little apartment, looking out at the Basilica, while my babe and my husband sleep. Thank God for sleep. Sitting here, on this peaceful day, the trains are passing each other over my left shoulder and the clouds are piling up. Construction is going on 7 floors below me. The clock inches closer to 5pm and the ensuing mad Friday summer rush hour up and down second street with both tourists and locals, dog-cussing the other. In this moment, it is not quiet. My computer thermostat says that it is currently 84 degrees, but it is registering a different District of Columbia than where I sit, as my internal thermometer says 78- tops.

But, see, there's this moment, and it happens more often than not, when the trains stop moving, the workers are reassessing what they are doing, there are no cars on the road, and it is just..... silent. There is not white noise of cicadas, no insects, no lapping water or sprinklers, no breeze; nothing to that effect. There is no white noise that makes you forget to think. When all these trains, cranes, and cars line up- it is here and gone in a blip. An instant. And the shuffle of the city starts back.

Sometimes, at night, the tv will be off, the windows (all two of them) will be cranked open and I will lay in my bed with six pillows surrounding me listening to nothing- and the silence is so loud, it makes me realize that there it can be quiet- truly quiet, like pure white (not navajo white, or winter white, or pale white). The wind creeps through the slat of openness that separates me from outside and it is gone.

There really is no place quieter than the city- but it has to be found at just the right moment. What a bold statement.

No comments: