The Stillness


I love the night, after the world has gone to sleep. There is a stillness, a peace, a creative silence that I can't find in any other time of day. When all the minds have gone to rest.... that's when mine comes alive. 

Up on the Teia mountainside, a cooing Summer breeze is the only thing to accompany me tonight. My thoughts come alive. I can almost hear the soft whispers from the sea, carried in the rustle of the trees, dancing along the 15-minute clock church bells ... it's the only reminder that I am not alone. 

I can't remember when I began to crave the silence, but I do recall a time where I filled every empty moment with noise, although I can no longer remember why. Silence, I found, is the music that we often forget. Just as the melodies and rhythms make a song, so, too, do the breaks and hesitations. You cannot have one without the other. Otherwise, the song is lost entirely amidst the chaos. 

I may not be able to write melodies, string a series of magical chords, but I hear them all around me. I hear them tonight in this breeze, in the closing of shutters next door, the distant barking of a dog, and the rustling of palms. A faded Catalan argument in a nearby house, the clinking of pots and pans, and the scratching of pen against paper- all sounds suffocated and lost in the light of day. 

In these moments, I can hear my thoughts clearly. I can feel the words swarming up within me and emblazoned on my skin. Sometimes they do not come until my head has hit the pillow and my weary body craves sleep. Only then do they come baracading through the gates, demanding to be heard. 

Some nights I repeat them over and over as they come, draped in blankets and heavy eyelids, too tired to get up and capture them, willing them to be there when I wake. They never are. Other nights, I groan, giving into their persistence, and tossing the covers aside, I grab my phone, lap top, or journal, scribbling them down like they ceaselessly demand, before crawling back into bed again, angry at their disturbance, but slave to their inspiration. Sometimes, the words come out in a waterfall, like a flowing river after a broken damn. Other times, they float in as mere sentences - beautifully constructed words woven together like musical notes that at the time mean nothing to me at all. 

Most times, I'm not sure I'm the writer at all. Without the pain and agony of desperately trying to a pull a story out of a blank page or painting an image as if carefully unweaving every single thread from a quilt, I can't possibly claim the words as my own. Without this magic and inspriation, writing can be like trying to carve The David out of a block of tar, and every sentence is a painful crack in the chiseling of the rock. But these other moments are much different. In these moments, I am only the vessel, the pen who furiously etches the words that come from some unknown place before they have vanished. Like trying to capture the wind as it blows through your hair, or the rain as it trickles through your fingertips. In these moments, laziness cannot be afforded; sleep cannot be surrendered to. For in the morning, these melodies are always gone, their song passed along to someone else. And no matter how hard I try to recapture and recall their rhythm, it never fits again. 

And so, I sit in the back garden of a modest, Spanish house, in an unrecognizable Spanish town, scribbling words as they drift in on a midnight, July breeze while the town sleeps, after groaning and surrendering to their call, dragging myself from bed just as sleep had settled in.

If it's a single raindrop or a wisp of inspiration that wakes me, in the form of a single line, I know that after capturing it, I will be released and find sleep soon again. But it's these tidal waves and sandstorms that sabotage my following mornings and I know once my pen hits the page, that sleep tonight has already passed me by and tomorrow will be hell. 


But the song is nothing without the silence. In fact, it isn't a song at all.