Saturday, October 8, 2011

Within the sounds of silence

Him: What do you miss the most?
Me: Swimming. In the pool, feeling the water enclose me in silence.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: (closing my eyes, remembering) I gave myself the freedom to take 70, maybe 90, minutes, every morning, to not think. Just focus on my breathing, the coolness of the water, the movement of my limbs.

Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come with talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains
Within the sound of silence

Me: It's hard to explain.
Him: Try.
Me: It's the same feeling I would have with Yoga. Not the silly, half ass, modified Yoga I do now. The Yoga where I would lose myself, stay focused on the movement of my body, feel the bend of my spine, the reach towards the sky, the breath move my chest. I would greet the sunrise every morning with a salutation. For 20 minutes of my life, every day, I was calm. At peace. In silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone, narrow streets of cobblestone
Neath the halo of a streetlamp, I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light, split the night
And touched the sound of silence

Him: What happened?
Me: (pointing to the chair, my arms shaking) THIS happened.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: After the changes to my body, I lost my capacity for silence. I've tried everything I can to find it. To regain my focus. I'm a bit lost, trying to discover who I am, the power of my body. Everything I have tried has failed. Even the words I spit onto paper. Epic fail.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: I just...I don't know. It scares me because I feel broken. Lost without my silence.

And in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared, and no one dared
To stir the sound of silence

Him: Is that how you see it? A failure, in some way?
Me: I don't know. I had always thought that losing the capacity to write, the storytelling, would be my biggest loss. It's not. Somehow, when I lost the capacity to be still, quiet, focus on nothing but the air around me, my body in motion, I lost...a piece of myself. Maybe a piece of my soul? Oh, I know it sounds melodramatic-- but it's how I feel.

Fool, said I, you do not know, silence, like a cancer, grows
Hear my words and I might teach you, take my arms then I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell, and echoed in the wells of silence

Him: What have you gained?
Me: What do you mean?
Him: What do you do, now? How do you fill your days?
Me: Writing, reading, talking, visiting, observing. I still exercise, just not in the same way. I do my 90 minutes of daily stretching and range-of-motion exercises, with some modified Yoga thrown in for thrills. It's just...I miss...I miss that calm feeling while swimming laps, where I had no thoughts about my deadlines, a story, a friend's pain, a family crisis.

And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they'd made
And the sign flashed its warning in the words that it was forming
And the sign said the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls, and whispered in the sounds of silence

Him: That silence you speak of? It is still a part of you. You'll find it again.
Me: How can you be so sure?
Him: Remember your social worker? The one who had a shitty day and cancelled all of her meetings, except yours? When I asked her about it, she said that one hour with you can turn a bad day into a good day.
Me: So? That's not me. She did that, herself. All I did was make her some tea and give her a moment to decompress from a really bad day.
Him: Think about it. She was there to take care of you, the woman in the wheelchair who can't even lift a tea pot without help. And yet, you made her tea. You gave her time to be herself, to not worry about anything or anyone. You gave her a moment of "silence." That's how I know it's still a part of you. All you have to do is find it in yourself.


  1. That video caused so many feelings inside of me; memories of where and who I was when I first heard the song, sadness, hope, calm...

    I hope you find your quiet place again.

    Mango Momma

  2. I just wanted to come back and add how touched I was by this post. You are a profound and reflective artist, inspired by and inspiring everyone touching you. Even the damn doctor. Greatness can't help itself.