By: Ashley Uppani
By: Ashley Uppani
Graphics by Fernando Cobelo
The sole impetus for change, time prompts and binds all things together.
My memories of spring are neatly organized as subtle darkening of grass, proliferation of tissues at drugstores, and persistent noise of omnipresent sneezing alongside tests and science fairs, rain and flowery trees in a color-saturated world.
Summer is distinct with the smell of late-night barbecues and visits to the Poconos and beach. Amongst glistening sweat, the chaos of neighborhood children alternates with my neighbors’ late-night pool parties in interrupting any train of thought.
Fall is the crunch of dried leaves, the sudden overpopulation of pumpkins at every corner, and the roar of school buses at 6:30 in the morning. Winter is pristine snow being tossed left and right by snow blowers that could put chainsaws to shame, is filled with salt trucks and shovels, children playing in their front yards and noisily sliding down icy hills.
The continuity of noise coincides with time— both unrelenting and coexisting— until consumed by solitude.
To me, solitude is the peppering of winter snow on the sidewalk and the soft pattering of spring rain against the windowpane.
To me, solitude is filled with that peaceful, serene silence of undisturbed things, everyone peering from inside the abode of their homes outward to the world’s undefined state. The fleeting quietness untarnished and uninterrupted only for moments.
It was the drizzle of March rain that signaled the start of a new type of silence.
My brother’s first high school tennis game was met with the lightest of rains, and my friends and I, the hillside audience, were met with the joyful news of an unexpected day off. Thus began the silence. The unspoken words, proliferating texts, and warming weather crafted a difference; things were not yet the same.
April rains allowed the guise of normalcy to hold: it was raining, so surely there was no one outside. Summer did not allow this self-deception to hold. As the weather warmed, tennis courts remained empty, and roads desolate. Even my youthful neighbors refrained from the chaos of their usual late-night pool parties, and the seemingly indestructible neighborhood kids resigned to their homes.
All that was left was silence; time no longer posed as an impetus for change.
We, as humans, were no longer confined to the world’s race and frantic rush and found ourselves stuck in an odd paradox of indefinitely stretching, merging, and blurring moments. Rather than the memories of those seasons organizing themselves into separate, neat folders titled spring, summer, and fall of 2020, they flung themselves into an overflowing folder titled “quarantine”. Time, no longer discrete, morphed silence from a soothing entity to a frightening commonality.
As we slowly slip from later months of the year and eventually enter spring, one can hope that maybe spring will revive the earth from its throes of silence.