“I miss the stillness. It is an antique in this shrill, intruding life, an all-but-forgotten thing of no real value, like ink-wells. It is as if we have tried to fill up what stillness there is with all the mindless claptrap we can conjure, as if a little quiet or a patch of peaceful dark is a bug that has to be stomped before it gets away.

In restaurants, I am forced to eat my meatloaf with the television tuned to two mental giants ranting about a topic they manufactured that morning, apparently from mud and straw. In a doctor’s waiting room, a televangelist told me I was going to hell, then Rachel Ray made me a tuna melt.

It is enough to wish for a lightning storm. There’s that moment when the lightning flashes and thunder shakes the house. The power flickers and dies, and a dark stillness falls. And you’re swallowed up by a pure, old-fashioned silence, free of the hum of the refrigerator or the air conditioner, free from all the man-made background noise that makes you feel less human.” – Rick Bragg

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