Silence Rushes In
I remember afternoons filled with subtle wind, ruffling glass, and snow glinting off the distant mountain range. When the wind would carry my words to the wisps of dandelions and fields of wheat chaffs. During those times no one was around, and I was left alone to make the world into my own listening device. What I’ve come to learn upon growing up an only child and with separated parents is how to capture the silence in a jar and turn it into sound. For the majority of my childhood, I grew up with my mother. We’d go shopping every week on the day she didn’t have work and wouldn’t talk about anything but how this fabric felt and which colors compliment our features the best. I’d enjoy laughing with her until I’d almost puke out the dinner and dessert we’d buy at the local market. On a day-to-day basis, I barely saw her because she worked grave shifts. Those times when I did see her she would blurt out some words in Filipino as she’d shut the door behind me. Time at home was spent in a silent slaughter; I craved sound and played whatever music I could. Within the gaps of the sound, the silence came in—who was there to talk to? Ends of the weeks resulted in watching TV in my dad’s trailer house and watching the gravel disintegrate into the dust. We would talk about what the neighbors were up to and what my dad was up to and what the TV was up to. Outside on the farm, there was an escape. Instead of the incessantly ringing silence bouncing off the manufactured drywall, the rush of wind creating sound as it wrapped around foliage filled the void. I’d talk with my eyes, the sun conversing with glares and the moon questioning with exploratory stares. I adapted a way of communication through observation instead of verbal discourse, mimicking the subtleties of nature.
There was a spot I’d pedal my bike to everyday. It was marked by a collection of abandoned ramshackled wood pallets on the side of the trail. As I gazed upon the expanse of wild wheat caressing each other, I let my thoughts drift upon the meadow and be taken by the wind, lifted, then woven through the wheat. Our sounds mingled, creating a chatter of euphony. When it’d rain I would purge my emotion to the skies, when it was dark I’d divulge my secrets to the stars. What knew me the best was outside, and what I knew best was inside. That is how I turned my silent jar into whirling sounds.
The language outside further developed into language worldwide. In high school, I started learning German, and never stopped. Part of my inspiration for learning German began at birth, for I was born to a Filipino mother. I enjoyed her language and felt connected to something greater through language learning. Though Filipino wasn’t offered as a course, German was, and that happened to be my father’s heritage. Nature has its own language as do people around the world, and I found the worthiest investment of my time was in language. Language has always been my way of communicating, first with nature, now with people. Within my family is a language of sweet silence that we all seem to bask in. For myself, I find language in silence when I let my mind explore nature with its resonating silence and reverberating stillness. When the silence rushes in, my spirit rushes out—that is my language.