Throughout the night I kept my eyes open. I absorbed the swinging lobes of the world above me. Felt the breeze finally cool. In the morning I could still hear it, all of it. Lingering on the birds’ faces. Resting upon the dry fragrance of the soil. It wasn’t until I went away to college that the music ceased. I had no choice but to go to the city. And, there, concrete muffled any sound. In long winds after the full moon I could feel music, sometimes. But it wasn’t joyous, nor did it ache. All I felt was numbness. Cold. So I brushed it away. Each day another melody dimmed. I had never lived in silence before, and I feared it. I was known only as the deaf girl, softly pitied from afar. With my hands I could speak. Not everyone understood. Through the window of my dorm room I could see buildings and cars. I was keenly aware that there was no earth beneath my feet. A month into the first term a friend asked me on a road trip to the coast. Her brother was deaf, and she knew how to sign. I hadn’t been to the beach for many years. It had been so long, in fact, that I’d forgotten what it sounded like. We drove through forests and over hills. I rested my forehead against the car window and watched the branches of Douglasfirs. Ferns, fallen logs, walls of moss. Just like my forest.
My chest opened, music rising. It grew louder, louder. Around a bend we wove until... there it was. The ocean. That beautiful plane of water singing in deep, eternal sighs. Never had I heard grander music. Then I knew— it was all the world singing.
The journal of the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program