Silence

Heidegger: ‘We speak our language. How else can we be close to language except by speaking? Even so, our relation to language is vague, obscure, even speechless.’ And: ‘As mystery, the word remains remote. As a mystery that is experienced, the remoteness is near.’

What does this mean? Perhaps that language, born of silence, retains an intimacy with silence; that it binds us to the near and remote silence which our words at once conceal and reveal.

*

S. and I move about the cottage each sensing the other’s presence. We speak, or don’t: speech or silence, it’s all the same. When she goes outside I swear I can feel her absence even if I haven’t heard her leave.

She tells me about a study which showed that when couples live together they begin to mirror each other physiologically. Their heart rates, breathing and brainwaves synchronize when they’re in each other’s presence, as when our footsteps fall in with those of the person we’re walking with.

*

Noise weighs on me now the way silence used to, even out here. The right words only come in stillness. When the pigeon isn’t cooing, the cat isn’t scratching something, customers aren’t knocking on the door wanting to buy eggs, delivery vans aren’t rolling by to T.’s farm, S. isn’t clattering in the kitchen… then something takes hold that’s mine yet not mine. Strange circuitous route to what’s already here, in a kind of silent saying.

 

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