Let me befriend you with a place. Well, it wouldn’t tell me its name, and I don’t think it has one, so we’ll have to skip formalities. Its exact location is also unknown to me, it wouldn’t allow me to use my smartphone, and I’m not very good at directions. Perhaps I used the wrong word, now as I start thinking about what happened. How could a place allow or forbid you to do anything? Is it possible?

Not really save for the sheer physical boundaries it might impose on you. Not my case, certainly. It was a lot more complicated than that, and I think the best way to describe it is by calling it magic. I just felt enchanted and under a spell, but not the type of spell we would all imagine: the deadly and sinister whisper of an old witch. This was entirely different; it was the voice of a thousand summers welcoming you as a guest yet very clear on the insignificance of your existence.

Puzzled, confused yet daringly calm I stepped forward and started exploring this place. Not a single drop of fear darkened my mood, everything was so naturally perfect, I could feel the cosmic synergy between the elements. The sun was setting down spreading the purple light of the dying day all over. The trees were rustling their song of bright mornings and nights full of starlight. The air was moisture and cold and I was feeling like a newborn child – taking every breath with joy and painful amazement.There was also something else in the air, a deep and mysterious presence calling you noiselessly.

But not everything seemed surreal. I could feel the little pebbles under my soles. Occasionally, I would step onto a dry twig and hear it cracking while my body started reacting to the temperature drop as the sun was ending its daily routine. The scent of rotten leaves was filling in my nostrils and I could reach out and touch the wet trunks of the trees.

And now, as I’m telling you all this, I feel it must have been quite a paradox: everything was so real, more real than we are used to, so tangible and easy to sense that it seemed unreal. The thickness of the air, the white steam coming out of my mouth, the throbbing of my left leg after I almost broke it on a stone hidden under the fallen leaves… All this cannot erase the memory of trees whispering to each other dream songs, the sunlight slowly fading away to let darkness cover the world as if against its own will, the feeling of being in a place where you belong to yet scarcely being part of. A stranger in your own home.

We’ve grown too accustomed to noise. Our lives are dominated by noise. But I was invited to a place where the noise was nothing but an attribute of silence. This place taught me how to hear silence.

 

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