A Moment of Silence


I just finished an intense bout of writing this week to meet a deadline on a memoir I'm ghostwriting. The memoir is about a single woman, who against all odds, becomes the mother of quadruplets, and through the power of love and faith, overcomes enormous obstacles to birth and raise four exceptional and healthy children.

Yet, I still want to honor my personal commitment to publish a blog post twice a month.

It's a Saturday, and there's been construction on my block for months. The workers are gone today, so you'd think I could finally enjoy a respite from the cacophony of nail guns and power saws. But no, a different neighbor has decided today is the day to jackhammer up his back patio. Adding to that nerve-shattering sound is the incessant barking of the adorable, but completely anxious neurotic dog across the street.

So, in honor of these sounds of life all around me, I'm sharing a piece from a while back called A Moment of Silence.

Please enjoy!


A Moment Of Silence


There’s a special whispering song the wind makes when it dances through the pines, a sighing that instantly transports me to the mountains and the scent of clear sharp air. The wind through palm trees is not like that at all, a dry cracking and clacking song of moonlit beaches and far away shores.


If only the traffic on Sunset Boulevard resembled either of those songs, but instead the hot friction of rubber on asphalt and the roar of combusting oil grates on my nerves like a relentless assault, invasive, intrusive, aggressive.


I long for silence like a strung-out junkie longs for a fix, it’s a hunger, visceral and deep, running over my nerves, skittering under my skin. Shhh! Be quiet. Don’t make so much noise. Oh and can you stop thinking those heart-jarring thoughts so loudly, just for a moment if you please?


Some bird on a pole above my chair has quite a lot to say, and repeats himself often, variations on a theme about the weather, his mate and life as we know it. Is there a special message for me?


If everything around us speaks, cryptic signs and signals, communiqués from an unseen world, what does this mean? The shamans of old could read the environment like we read the New York Times, every encounter tinged with significance, headlines clear and bold.


Is the wind alive? It swarms over my skin, caressing me like a mother, a lover, a soft insistent invitation to a land far away yet close at hand, right through the veil of the ordinary moment.


A motorcycle roars by, its rider thrilled at the freedom of the open air, the open road, high on the power of fingertip control, 200 horses charging along beneath his thighs, exulting in his roar, silently yelling, “I’m here, I’m here. I count, I matter. Pay attention to me.”


A moment’s peace, five or fifty strung together like luminous pearls on a string, prayer beads slipping through my fingers, a lifeline of silence. Clinging, I wait, swinging gently on the wave till the current draws me back and down and into a vast field of Inner Silence, spreading in all directions. How can it be so quiet and still, yet full of motion, pregnant with all possibility?


Sirens screech, horns blare, a fire truck pierces the moment and the roar of Sunset Boulevard at 4 in the afternoon comes rushing back, demanding to be heard.


©Mikhaila Stettler 2013

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