Sunday, December 21, 2003


From my second floor window I see fading orange and purple through cloud rifts; a string of Christmas lights, draped across some shrubs, in a gap between houses; a solitary streetlamp just above the clotted tangle of the horizon. Like a big, strange star. The longest night approaches.

I have felt a heavy silence in me. Something mute and dumb. A great, deadened fatigue with talk, opinion, display, analysis, critique. What is "right speech" ?

A fragment from a hymn floats up: Let all mortal flesh keep silence

It turns out , to my surprise, to be an Advent hymn, and the prescribed silence is one of awe in face of the coming of Christ.

Today, in face of increasing terrorist "chatter," the government elevates the threat level to orange. A vague, unspecified menace is described in apocalyptic terms: near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experienced on September 11. I suspect cable news has begun its own ceaseless chatter. We must be vigilant. We must keep shopping. They hate freedom.

The department of homeland security site advises stockpiling, among other things, "moist towelettes."

Chatter, silence, awe, impending event.

No comments: