Nothing is ever quieter than when it’s loud. When all the tiny noises are gone and it’s just one big noise. It’s like you dialed the volume up to 11 and ended up back at 1.

war and peace in the undergrowth

The crickets, the owls, the passing cars, the airplanes overhead, the distant laughter, the hum of generators, the crying babies, the noisy lovers, the rustle of deer in the cornstalks and raccoons in the trash cans. Your own breath. The overhead fan. The refrigerator defrosting. Imagine they’re all gone. Now imagine they’re all been replaced by the unimaginably loud thudding of the footsteps of a giant.

an anonymous call from a cumulonimbus cloud

Except, of course, there’s no such thing as a giant, and so it’s probably the blood pounding in your head, or the bass of the stereo next door, or a minor earthquake. You don’t even bother to go look. You turn to the Internet to ask if there’s been an earthquake. It takes a while to determine that there has not been an earthquake, and by that time the not-earthquake is over. The ordinary noise is back. You shake your head, asking yourself, then what did I hear? And then: did I actually hear something? If you can’t imagine what could have made a noise, then was the noise really made?

a thousand miles from the sea: chambered nautilus

By the next morning, you and everyone else on the giant’s path have forgotten that minute of pure noise that canceled out noise.

the morning after
the broken window
the broken bird


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