Silence is the stillness of my breath when I wake up from an intense dream at the beginning of dawn, when mine is the only body in the vastness of space, when I’m small and trembling and way too weary to tuck my damp hair and glistening collar bone back under the protective blankets. Silence is the absence of traffic on the highway between three and five am, when I lose track of time because cars no longer arrive, hum, and vanish. Silence is the suspended moment after I ask you how you really are and you’re calculating how to answer. Silence is a condition I create when I need to escape the tension of the world around me, when parents are yelling at their children in the row in front of me on the train, when jack hammers are breaking up asphalt as I wait for the light to turn green, when friends are cutting each other with words that are sharper than my kitchen knives, when things are so overwhelming that retreat seems like the only safe, sane, or possible thing to do. Silence is the tension after a heavy down pour, when the earth soaks up the sudden and overwhelming abundance of water, when vast rivers sweep insects miles off course, when birds are still nervous of damaging their feathers. Silence is the raw pain in my heart when I realize, after a disagreement, that I’ve allowed pride to infiltrate my mouth again, and say things I want to delete. Silence is an enormous, multi-limbed creature that slinks though the night, distracting me from sleep by offering me way too much to think about.
— heidi kalyani, 2017
from the *nothing is black and white* project: illustration created out of meditation with a single unbroken line