soundless words

May 19, 2009

Saturday granted me a mandatory task: spend 5 hours in alone silence.

Saturday granted me the perfect placement for such a task: a strange, new spot on a lake surrounded by trees

dandelion sky

I set out to explore silently 5 hours.

Wondering through a cracked-open gate, I moved into an opening where brightly colored shapes sprouted to towering from the ground: an empty carnival. Rides stood eerily still as laughing kids and bustling crowds who once filled the space floated down ghosts in the beginning rain.

I entered the ancient tilt-a-whirl ride, pulled up the metal bar and sat in the car untilting, unwhirling, but curving to protect me from the rain. And me, giddy and giggling at the stillness of a ride most people move through quickly as rain tapped my feet.

I ran barefoot across a nearby field of white dandelions and collapsed in the middle so my sight contained only knee-high dandelions and sky.

I wondered into the woods and found a clearing furnished with carpet, chairs, lamps, a toaster oven, an old merry-go-round horse named Mike. And on the outskirts, an ironing board.

I climbed on a fallen tree dangling over a stream and wrote about everything. About my memory of years ago discovering an impressive treehouse in the woods behind my sister’s house and about my comrade during that exploration which contrasted my current aloneness.

I stepped into the cold stream and splashed all the way along its current to where it found the wide open lake. I was crazy-laughing as I and my clothes grew increasingly drenched and the stream restored became pure lake.

I sat by the lake on a log and read poetry out loud to the waves hitting the carcass of an enormously decaying fish.

After the 5 hours of silence ended, I re-met eight people who had similarly spent the same time in silence. I discovered that other people had stumbled across the same scenery I had; one had traveled almost exactly the same path as me.

And then I knew.

That we’re never as alone as we think we are. That things happen always with the power to change everything if only we were aware. That life at its most right involves a balancing between climbing inward and stretching out.

That the bare-bones potential of any day is that there’s always something new to explore and contemplate and say and create.

five hours