What The Silence Tells Us
I have an apple tree in my backyard, and it being April, the apple blossoms are in full bloom. I look forward to this time of year for this very reason. The lawn beneath the tree, watered for weeks with spring rain, is never greener, and the view from my back steps of that carpet of jewel green dappled with the white petals looks like a scene out of a fairy tale or the creation of a Hollywood set designer. Yet it is quite real. As a writer, of course, two things usually come to mind when I look at my backyard: First, Beautiful; and second, How would I write it? Or perhaps it is the other way around. My rendering above, for instance, while perfectly serviceable, just won’t do. Perhaps you can see it, but I doubt you can feel it, which is all the point. Also, I’m wary of the word “dappled,” though it beats “sprinkled” in this case, and “littered” wouldn’t work, and after that we’re into “painted,” or “spotted,” and so on, which sends me back to dappled.
Kind of drains all the magic out of it, doesn’t it? It’s hard to believe sometimes that something so fussy as writing can result in anything beautiful. I have decided that if I’m going to enjoy my life away from the keyboard, I must learn from time to time to shut my writer’s eye. It’s really a kind of addiction, this reducing the whole of something into a few choice words. You can become like the ten year-old boy who won’t put down his Rubics Cube. The world is always offering you new scenes, after all, both beautiful and ugly and everything in between, that call out for your concise reduction.
At least I don’t dream of writing. Paul McCartney was supposed to have heard the melody for “Yesterday” in a dream, and while it’s nice to be struck by creative lightening, it’s best, for me at least, to have a time away from words. The world isn’t words. The world is the world. After all, language is merely my vehicle of choice to share what the world has given me. Before then, before I speak or write or think a word, there is the necessary silence. It is that silence I wish to share, and if I never listen to it, what will I ever have to say?