The first thing is the silence.
This is not a quiet after a storm. This is not the sound of peace after a night of shelling in a city under siege — peace is already here. This is not the exhale of relief after a thunderstorm has passed, the random crashes and rumbles of thunder coming and going and starting and stopping, each one as violently unpredictable as the next…and then finally…ending. This is not the held-inhale quiet between flashes of lightning, the stillness when the rain has stopped, the calm that settles over the sated earth.
This is the sound of without.
This is the sound of a drop of water falling into a bucket — the first mesmerizing combination of hydrogen and oxygen to barely, imperceptibly, kiss the surface of the bucket bottom. This is the sound of a forest, razed to the ground by fires, no living or growing thing left in the eeriness. This is the sound between the clouds, the pockets where air does not and cannot whoosh but there must be something there, anyway.
This is the sound between the heartbeats of one.
Suddenly, I find myself walking along carrying my bags, mentally noting where to turn right despite the post-flight disorientation. It’s always slightly unsettling in the sky, more so on a turbulent windy day, and even more so when one city swelled with love and another is rushing and pushing with a startling quiet. The sun is shining, a cheerful sight, but the gusty and gutsy wind prevents the finger-brushes of warmth radiating down from being felt. When I was up in the air, in that tin-canned quiet caused by white noise, not absence, the sun poured right through my window and heated up my face in a way that I did not expect.
But even that brief, nauseating journey is a memory too now, and I ground my feet on the conversation-less street, and enter my house, wordlessly, to the sounds of appliances. The fridge will rhythmically hum, the floor doesn’t move unless I shift my weight on it, the air is still — so still that I have to cough or sniff to disturb it and remind the space that another human is present.
This is the sound of one.
The sound of two can be equally quiet; the same fridge will buzz gently, the same heat will creak on and breathe out its blanket of air, only on a seasonal basis. The same quiet and calm can settle, but there is the sound of two — the sound of human warmth and movement and love. This is the sound of faint breathing, of thinking and being, without always reminding. This is the sound that is like no other, that is a symphony I could never write alone because I am not a composer, but with two, the quavers and semi-quavers and crotchets fall onto each stave in such a glorious order that we both listen with wonder, still not saying anything.
This is the sound between two heartbeats, where these two heartbeats provide the percussion and the quiet is patient, enjoying each moment of the ever-changing music, which can only be written when one and one are two.
Miriam Lamey is an Astoria, New York-based writer and yoga teacher trainee under the 200 Hour program at Sacred Sounds Yoga to be completed in February, 2015. She strives to be open and attentive to the everyday, using life’s beauty and tragedy as inspiration for her writing and yoga practice. She’s an avid Ashtanga practitioner, also partial to a great new album, excellent bottle of wine, a good Manhattan, and attentively-cooked meal. Follow her on Twitter @mirseven and on Instagram. Read more on her blog at www.miriamlamey.com.