Sunday, October 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Have you ever been sitting in a meeting, or someplace with other people where you’re all supposed to be listening to what’s being said to all of you, and suddenly the person next to you gets a look of sudden thought and leans in toward your ear to share the thought? You had probably forgotten the person was even there, beside you, expected to listen to the same blather as you.
But suddenly, his look, combined with the urgency of the lean toward your ear piques your interest in what he has to say. Most likely, your boredom with what’s being said up front, has also raised your desire to hear the sudden insight. So you meet the lean with a tilt of your head.
You feel breath on your ear and hear the sound of breath behind teeth, but can’t quite make out what is being whispered.

You turn your ear.

You hear a hollow vowel shaped by tongue and palate, but can’t make out the consonants that define the envelope.

You temporarily cease breathing,

You make out an attack consonant and a vowel, but the end of the word trails off like a path that suddenly disappears in undergrowth and erosion.

I know this experience well. At times, the whisper comes from the person beside me. At times, it comes from the breeze rustling the trees, and sometimes from my own head or heart.

I feel the urgency, the need to break the blather,
to pierce the din of nonsense and the silence of meaning.

But try as I may, I can’t quite make out the diction.

I heard this imperceptible voice this past weekend below the rim of the canyon. I heard it over the crackle of the campfire, between the howls of the coyotes beneath the moon. I heard it on the wind across the Painted Desert blowing through the cracks in the adobe of the Wupatki ruins.
Three days later, I heard it in the constant rain outside my bedroom window last night as I drifted off to sleep. I’ve ignored the blather to which I was expected to listen, and am diligently trying to hear the whisper.

There’s a quiet in my heart that hears the whisper, but there’s still din enough in my mind that obscures the message.

Shhhh. Rod, be still…