September 28, 2007
By Andrea Schneck, Pleasanton, CA

Follow me and we’ll take a tour--I’ll show you who I am. We’ll travel the world and search for genuine happiness. But before we start, I have to ask you to watch your footing; it’s easy to lose yourself when following others. Are you listening?

The boy was never afraid of being alone; Silence didn’t bother him. Rather, he enjoyed her company.

Their conversations were just short of trivial, but those two or three moments a day meant so much to the little boy. Silence was his only friend, and she was the best one he could possibly imagine. Silence was always there when he needed her, and she was a great listener-Silence rarely spoke.

And she was beautiful, her rosy cheeks contrasting nicely with her pale complexion. Her lips, a soft pink, seemed ready to burst with sound, and her eyes, a brown sea of storming turbulence, offered a strange sense of clarity and purpose. The boy spent most of the day just admiring her, rarely being able to, or having a desire, to speak.
And when Silence did speak, her words would meander in the form of a thought, with such courtesy and contentment, into his head. With such ease and elegance they would dance, the brain’s glial cells wrapped tightly around Silence’s words, gliding and twirling together inside the boy’s mind. And for a few short moments, Silence and the boy would become one.

If you haven’t already noticed, there isn’t any wind in this body. Oh how I would love to be filled with it, to simply combine with the dirt, sky, and earth; to mix and be a part of something.

The boy never had permission to leave the house, but he was overcome with Silence’s desire to leave. Granted, he didn’t know why Silence wasn’t happy—he had always mistaken her silence for contentment, but still, he felt obligated to help her.
So he took Silence on a walk. A long walk-more like a journey-down the path that led to his house, across the length of the town, and over the hillside, until he finally reached the mountain that towered above many towns.
The walk had already taken a year, and the boy was growing older. Patches of facial hair had begun to form, and to his delight he was now taller than Silence. His height made him more awkward, and made it more difficult to hear Silence, but he didn’t mind. He could now physically overpower Silence if a needed opportunity arose.

Look now to your left; my brain has blackened from lack of oxygen. You’ve helped me enough, Boy. There’s wind up there-I can find it on my own.

It was a big mountain, and not too happy by the boy’s standards. Still, he went because it was his duty to keep Silence safe. Surely someone so gentle and quiet couldn’t take care of herself against a mighty mountain.
The boy followed after Silence.


At the bottom of the mountain there was a river. It wasn’t particularly inviting, nor was it particularly beautiful. Its water flowed unevenly and without reason, and its depths were unknown due to its befouled water. Little grew along its uneven shores except for the twisted shrubs that fought their way through the unfertile soil.
But along its shores were groups of men and women, children and their toys, all huddled together in anticipation of entering the stream.

And there were so many sounds; the water crashing against the bank, people’s giddy laughter, birds chirping in delight. Silence was wide-eyed and admired the peculiar scene.
But the boy grew impatient, and with a substantial amount of force, led her up the mountain.


They then came across a gathering of trees that were hardly worthy of the title “forest,” but still weren’t deserving of being called a mere ”group.” Silence again admired the sight.
The trees smiled at her, at each other, at the sky, and Silence smiled an ambitious, confused, determined smile right back. They were at peace with the world.
They had a small area that they could call their own, and they were medium-height and scattered randomly. There was so much noise present, life and happiness. The trees were far from the traditional sense of tranquility, yet they were the essence of euphoria.
Still, other trees had larger, more populated areas on the mountain slope. Other trees had quieter settings. And other trees were bigger and closer to the sky.

Is that really where the wind is? UpwardS?

The boy again grew impatient at Silence’s admiration, but this only showed that Silence needed him. Certainly without the boy, Silence would continue to meander from the course and never get to the top of the mountain.
So he pushed her past the trees with little effort, walking for two days and nights without resting. It was unusually hot and the air was still and much too thick. There was no sound present when they walked up the mountain. The rocks were moored into the soil, which was far too dry to notice that it was Silence walked on, and all other forms of nature and life, although grand by any person’s standard, were inaudible.
As she walked for those two long, long days, Silence noticed a river that sparkled a clear blue. It possessed no waves so it stayed perfectly within its bounds and yet it managed to give the appearance that it was flowing. It was silent.
In the distance Silence spotted a forest of towering, bright green trees. They were huge, some of them at least a hundred feet tall. Beautiful birds struggled to weave above and below the mighty branches since there was no wind to help them. It too, was silent.
Silence wondered how this was possible; beautiful streams and forests existing without sound and wind, but Silence didn’t bother to ask; she knew that the boy was much too tall to hear her.

So this is the epitome of perfection? bahhhhhhhhhh

Silence kept walking after the boy, and she was able to feel his delight as they walked. He had control over what was happening, and they were almost at the top of the mountain, near reaching the goal. But Silence couldn’t walk anymore. She couldn’t breath. She tried to tell the boy, but her inaudible words were blocked by the boy’s sense of purpose and happiness. She tried to jump to get up to his height so that he could hear her, but the trip up the mountain had taken away so much of the little wind and sound that Silence had left.
After an hour of chokes and still no let up in their pace, Silence and the boy were within sight of the top of the mountain. With a sense of relief Silence fell to her knees, expecting her momentum to at least make wind, expecting to at least make a thud, a noise. But there was no wind, and there was no sound.
In a sense of panic, Silence raised herself onto her feet and ran towards the edge of mountain, stopping only inches from dropping off. Silence looked upward, seeing more silent perfection. Silence looked downward, seeing herself, the randomness of the stream, the uneven trees. Silence listened, hearing herself, excitement and happiness. Yes, Silence, Silence! Silence heard herself, her voice, and Silence saw herself, her breath, her happiness, and Silence was living! And Silence looked straight back at the boy and he looked back at her, his eyes filled with purpose, and Silence tried to speak, and he tried to speak, but no noise came out, no wind blew, and Silence jumped.
The boy gawked. He ran to the edge of the mountain to see if somehow Silence had survived the fall, but he only saw the jagged edges of the mountain. Their sharp tips taunted him. They knew exactly where Silence went, but remained mere rocks.
He wanted to run down the side, searching for his purpose in life, but the rocks wouldn’t let him. No. They existed there, knowing everything, but were too dangerous and loose to walk on.
She was gone and he didn’t have the wind to make the walk back home.
So he stayed on top of the mountain, silent and tall, waiting near the inaudible river and forest where he thought the wind resided.

Your wind isn’t up there, Silence. You have to find it on your own. It’s easy to lose your footing when following others.

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