Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I remember, as a child, staring into the quiet spaces on high ledges or behind bleachers or in between child-sized hamster tunnels in the McDonalds play area where dust, debris, bits of paper, perished flies, defeated balloons, and various evidence of the living collected and sat undisturbed. It always gave me comfort to stare at these spaces, to fixate on their peacefulness, and to revel in how undisturbed and passive they were. I don't really remember the overall appearance of many places from long ago, but if I think about these quiet spaces, I find that I can conjure the very real feeling of being in that space once again, and, perhaps more pointedly, the sharp pang of the passage of time.

It happened often that, during the Civil War, people who were watching a battle from only a few hundred yards away would not hear any sound of the struggle. The sounds of the guns and screams and cannons were carried away and deposited somewhere else. They called this phenomenon "acoustic shadows."

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