There’s a difference between quiet and silence. Before I graduated high school, I climbed

Photo I took from the summit as the sun rose.
Photo I took from the summit as the sun rose.

Mt. Marcy, the tallest mountain in New York State, with one of my high school friends, his dad, and another scout. We started our ascent at midnight, reached the peak by 4 a.m., and waited for the sun to rise near five.

On our walk up, our breath mingled with the humidity, revealing webs of water vapor in the light of our headlamps. We sometimes talked, but mostly, things were quiet: the shuffling scratches and thuds of our footfalls as we scrambled over rocks, the heavy pants of our breath,  The occasional slosh and swallow of our water, and the continued cracking and hissing of wind laced through forest.

Now and then, I’d hear an animal, it’s sudden rustle breaking the background.

Quiet is a sense of monotony, a pattern, like a radiator rattling and blowing in a classroom. You forget the noise is there. It’s like the air, bearing down on us, stirred up in with fingers, vibrating in pulsing with invisible waves. Yet we feel like nothing is there. Continue reading