10 June 2018

In the Quiet Box

Silence expands to fill the available volume regardless of the total. This is knowledge gained as a collateral effect of living. It could take decades before one notices what is happening. Different cities, different containers, different boxes all experiencing the same result. The silence is loudest in the night, in those moments before another bedtime. Silence haunts.

Amusingly enough the silence is not without a soundtrack. The noises heard tend to be generated in places other than the throat or head. The click of a kitchen light switch morphs into a rifle shot. An air conditioner fan takes on a near corporeal presence, a machine-age analogue of a waterfall coursing over a brim of rocks. Low hum punctuated by the pouring of rain outside the windows that surges in when the conditioner unit cuts off. The abrupt absence of a sound like that tricks the mind into thinking it is losing its balance. Living in a quiet box it is an easily acquired habit of leaning into sound because it offers support.

Support in the form of distractions from the vacuum of a life unrealized. Absences. Connections not formed, or frayed to the point of unviability. Projects uncompleted, or worse, never started because the attention was absorbed by some other thing in life and the mind failed to grasp the threads it should have followed. Funny how the hollow clattering of a butter knife into a sink (which was cleaned earlier in a fit of anxiety-induced housekeeping) can knock the mind from one track into another. A metallic thud serving as an accidental rin chime signaling the beginning of involuntary meditation in the temple of the head.

The knife lies still in the sink. Stillness broken by the hum and whirr of domestic machineries within, wind and rain without. The body reacts by pacing around the quiet box of its apartment. It cannot be helped that the mind is flooded with memories and regrets and the helplessness wrought by the realization that not enough has been done to find security in an unstable universe. In the stream of silences the head and the heart cannot escape the notion that so much potential appears to have been wasted or unrealized. Picture the tap on the barrel of water that was supposed to have enabled the successful crossing of a desert. Unbeknownst to all this tap was not secured before embarking. Miles of trudging through the heat and sand engendering thirst beyond measure, not to be slaked because the water dripped away.

Desperate discoveries occur in the silences of the quiet box. The stomach knows because it drops. No amount of pacing truly eradicates the gnawing sensation, but the motion can ease some of the discomfort. Discomfort? Do we really mean fear? Fear of having missed out on a cosmic scale and now not understanding how to get something back? Ah, this is it. Of course it is fear. A nipping at the heels brought about by a late-night revelation that you may not know what you are doing. Ever.

But you should know this by now. If you do not, surely that would be irrefutable evidence of the ineffectuality that you believe to be your shackles. It is this ineffectuality that howls the loudest in the midnight of the quiet box. Ineffectuality is the diamond-eyed beast that prowls the undergrowth just outside the dying circle of light. Growl and moan, rustle and snort, the impression is one of power that does not care how bright the fire you build. It will get what it wants. It will feed.

Living a life of balance is draining, in the face of knowing the universe does not need an excuse to eat you alive. The prime directive of that life is to find something, or better yet, someone with whom to share the quiet box of life. By such good fortune the beast will be kept at bay.

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"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...