hush now, don’t explain
every now and then this quiet comes over me and i know that it is time for me to listen. i’m not all here. i have descended to the underworld. i am spending my season with the dead. they have much to tell me and it is difficult to hear them, so the quiet for now is necessary. i don’t want to miss a thing. this quiet seems to always descend upon me at the most inconvenient times. just when the rest of the world is whipped into a frenzy of celebration and noise, i feel the urgent call for stillness, for listening, for peace.
indeed, the quiet is so urgent that i am positively superstitious about it. i apologize in advance for my strange behavior. i am listening very intently to the frequency of spirits. they are jealous and spiteful. i am greedy for what they have to give. i am ready for it. this requires me to be constantly alert for messages. last week i plucked a notebook out of my purse that was identical to one i own (bright red), but this one had a single entry not in my handwriting. i was in the room when those notes were written. i was looking for my notes from that exact panel. i found what i was looking for, just not in the way i expected.
just today i grabbed a copy of the salt eaters by toni cade bambara off my shelf. i’ve owned this particular copy for years, but bought it used. today a tiny slip of notebook paper about an inch square torn on all sides fluttered out with a note not written in my handwriting. i scan the page and read this:
They argued the merits of growing up in Memphis or in Harlem. Porter talked about Speaker’s Corner, calling it “holy ground.” Fred would talk about the tenements behind Beale Stret they used to call “The Arks.” They’d laugh together at their fathers’ old-time courting tales, when they’d jam a tomato stake with their name chalked on it in the girl’s yard and hope like hell her father wouldn’t com yank it out and fling it back over the fence.
~Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters
the fact that the scrap is torn on all sides like a petition paper, that this passage mentions memphis and magic and love. that the quote itself is about storytelling and community–all of this feels like a miracle. suddenly the hush, the quiet is worth it. i have come to the place at the end of the map. the sky is without stars, without the moon. dark. there is only the sound of something far, far away to guide me, whispering into my heart.