The Boston area just observed a moment of silence for the victims of last Monday’s bombings.

I went to the kitchen with my husband, and turned on the radio to be silent with everyone else, wishing we were down at Copley, standing quiet and still with thousands of people.

My thoughts went in spiraling prisms, from the painful to the earthy to the ridiculous, like human thoughts do. I’d like to say I was only thinking of the victims of last Monday’s bombings, how their lives are changed forever. Or lost. Forever.

I’ve thought so much about that in the last week.

But the truth of my human mind is that, in the silence, I began to think …about silence. And then about noise.

I wondered why there is never a moment of noise. Screaming, yelling and foot-stomping.

I know there’s plenty – in sports events, family arguments and at Kindergarten naptime. Just like there’s silence when we forget what we’re saying.

But silence or noise as a response or non-response to something is so different from a moment dedicated to silence – or noise – just for itself.

And then I remembered my last concert, in Asheville, N.C., two nights before Marthon day.

At the end of the performance, for the encore, I came out into the audience and played one of the simplest and non-impressive-virtuosic tunes I know: Danny Boy. Wrestled from the cliché of itself, it’s a song about loss, about the permanence of death and of love. It’s simple. And it’s a song I never expected to love.

It all comes down to this – I wanted to say –– no matter what we learn, or do, no matter how bombastic, impressive, cutting-edge, famous, rich, poor, successful, wealthy, old, virtuosic … no matter what we become – it comes down to this: the gift … or the loss … of human connection.

When I ended the song, I stood perfectly still, because I didn’t want to end the moment – that moment between music and non-music, when the silence becomes its own world. It’s a rare, and precarious, and stupendous moment.  It’s hardly ever allowed.

My strings rang and faded and I didn’t move to damp them. My eyes were closed and I didn’t open them. As if I were completely alone.

And nobody clapped. All of us suspended together, in a trust of silence that was deeper, more spectacular, more moving than any note or any thunderous applause could ever be. That silence was the greatest thing we could share. To be together in that silence.

So, I think … I think I just answered my question.


One-fund BostonThe One Fund Boston was set up to aid the victims of the tragic events that happened at the  Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. You can donate by clicking the button.


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