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Quiet’s hard to come by

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I was somewhere so quiet; so still, that, when two birds flew over, even 20 feet above me, I heard their feathers moving through the air. It is a sound that almost defies description: both a swoosh and a rustle, and a hint of the sweep of a soft brush.

If you had told me that was possible before I actually experienced it, I would not have believed you.

I think they were crows, heading south across the Nevada desert. I was so riveted by the sound that I didn’t look at them as carefully as I should have; all I really remember looking at was the tip of one wing, connecting the unusual, unique sound to the fingered feathers spread out against the air.

I have never heard that sound before. I don’t know that I will ever hear it again.

But it makes me think about just how much sound there is all around us, and how that complication of noises gets ever-larger.

Standing in the kitchen, there’s the whirr of the exhaust fan, the hiss of gas on the cooktop, the rattle of a pot lid. A computer fan. The click-and-whirr of a hard drive.........

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