The Ilk of Quiet

“I contemplate the quiet a lot, an over-lot. The quiets. So many quiets. Sometimes it’s the quiet I hear most. That quiet that is so amplified after a long period of not quiet, an exuberant phone call which ends with I love you’s and goodbyes – goodbyes that are not goodbyes – ends which are not ends but which are leave-takings. Then the quiet comes out and stands there. Sometimes it stands there patiently until I notice it. I notice it first when it decides to step forward, to envelop. The quiet is inevitable but the notice of it is unexpected. It is not under-appreciated. It does not stay unnoticed.

So quiet is that particular quiet that I wonder if I imagined that phone call, that enthusiastic noise. Within that quiet my thoughts are different, numbed somehow. No, that’s not the right word – perhaps it is subdued. I check my phone and it is warm. That quiet wanes a bit and becomes the usual quiet. Until it is interrupted. It is defined by the contrast to that which interrupted it. Then I have that quiet again and sometimes I trip over it. It stands tall, it stretches out its arms, it creeps and wanes. It often has no color.

The quiet that arises from other quiets is different. The quiet of a realization, the conscious moment of that realization – it is quiet. The unconscious non-realization of the missing is not quiet for it does not really exist, not yet. Only in retrospect will it become apparent that is was not yet there, for it was so quietly quiet.

Often realizations are loud, often not, often very quiet, sometimes so very soft, sometimes so hard. Within the quiet there is sometimes a smaller, contained quiet, a subset of the quiet, an intangible subset of an intangible quiet. It seems that intangible things are often quiet, even when they startle or impact.

The quiet of the missing contains the quiet of wonder, the quiet of a ponder, the quiet of a slowly dawning silent realization which creeps about the perimeter of the room, always emerging at floor level, always a blur, never to be caught by a glance. The quiet of time often seems to have a flavor, a theme, a song. The quiet of things, perhaps a scent, the quiet of the absence of a flavor or scent, a certain feel. Sometimes quiets have no relation to sound but exist in harmony with all manner of sound. The quiet of thought is not always quiet. It’s the quiet of the most quiet that is most astounding. It stands by me and encourages the quietly beautiful intangible. And is that which I ponder.

The ilks, the thats, the sames, the forms, of quiet. The quiet of time. After the sound, before the sound, around the sound, next to the sound, beside the sound, the persistence of quiet. The quiet trumps the sound. The quiet of that which is meant to know and not meant to know and can never, ever be known. The quiet of things never to be shared. The quiet of a decision made, a promise unkept, a thought abandoned, a thought overwrought. The quiet of a stun, the quiet of the dusk, the beautiful quiet of the quiet.”

One Response to “The Ilk of Quiet”

  1. This is the most profound and insightful commentary I have yet to read
    on your blog.

    Perhaps you would like to read “Beyond the Borders of Silence” by
    William Segal (a noteworthy artist himself).

    You have struck a powerful chord. Speak soon when I return…

    Leslie (from Georgetown, Guyana)

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