The sticky sound I can’t shake

By Michele Zirkle Marcum - Contributing Columnist

Editor’s Note: Listen to the podcast of this column.

A spring storm rumbles across the sky, but behind the dark clouds and thunder-claps, a vastness of blue is waiting to reveal itself. Sounds burst forth from every direction. Every form consisting of living cells has been waiting for this time of year — waiting to chirp or splash or howl.

Everything from the wind to the garbage truck seems louder — even the sound of the cattails flapping in breeze and the neighbor’s cat meowing are reaching my ears one octave higher than normal.

It’s like the world is a snow globe that’s been shaken. Leaves burst open, insects scurry across pavement and rabbits thump across fields.

Upon first hearing the world spring to life this time of year, I feel a bit more alive myself. I get the urge to make more noise than usual. I turn up the volume on the radio and sing louder. I swipe the wind-chimes on my porch and shout, “Hello,” to the neighbor instead of just throwing up my hand.

Eventually the blaring political debates on television, the honking traffic on the interstate and my own inner chatter that’s making a list of warm weather chores and vacation plans, becomes exhausting. Every appliance in the house needs to be heard. The coffee-maker beeps, the dryer buzzes, the dishwasher spins … and so does my head.

I want to escape; so, I run, pounding across my favorite hiking trail as if to announce to the world that I can make enough noise to drown out not only my own thoughts, but all machinery in the world. I pick up the pace until I collapse on the nearest rock I can find.

Then it happens. The world that was just barraging me with so much noise that I felt the need to try to overpower it, is silent. The sounds all blur together like a beautiful melody— the airplane and the birds flying above, my hair and the leaves blowing in the breeze, the wood pewee and the train whistle—my pulse beating inside my ears.

Behind all the noise there lies a symphony of silence — a high-pitched silence that is with me wherever I am.

It’s this sticky silence I can’t shake — that I don’t want to shake. It’s this silence that reminds me that, although I may sometimes feel totally and utterly alone, I am actually never alone. The silent “I am” is always with me.

As my hand grips the rock beneath me, I feel a membrane of silence wrap around the Earth — holding it together — holding me together. I vow to remember that when life’s so loud I can’t think, there is a silence just waiting to wrap me in its arms — an invisible hug from the universe.

I raise my face to the sky and breathe in the beauty of this glass globe I seem to be in, and I listen as the music of life plays silently around me.

By Michele Zirkle Marcum

Contributing Columnist

Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.

Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.