I’ll admit it: Sometimes silence weighs heavily on me.

On days of doubt or rare loneliness—or, even rarer, boredom—silence can be a huge and oppressive thing; a cave that magnifies troublesome thoughts and throws them back, an echo that rattles the spirit.

But other times…oh.

On those first cold nights of winter, listening in bed in the dark to the no-insect-no-breeze-no-branch-rustling soundlessness outside my slightly open window…I am close to the earth and close to the infinite. The universe belongs to no one but me. I am feeling something unseeable.

Last night, I called the beautiful silence to me. I did not light the lamp. The bathroom was lit by nothing more than the chilly light of the full moon through the sun-tube; I left it that way. And I listened. To that lush, soft-textured thing.

Writing to silence is a necessity. Hearing it—truly immersing in it—is extraordinary. One does not listen for what is in the silence…that’s not the point. One hears the silence itself.

Silence on this scale is massive. Rich. Visceral. Supremely emotional. This is the state of “not one, not two.” It is a lasting breath, taken deep, held infinitely.

I wonder, as I lay hearing the silence, whether there are others in the world doing what I’m doing. Were I the only one, I would not be alone.

Such hearing is not an easy feat. I can’t summon it on demand. I don’t know when I will experience it again. Such silence is an elusive thing. It dodges the ear and eludes the heart. But what happens in the midst of it is magical. And when it happens again, I’ll smile.