different kinds of quiet

There are different kinds of quiet, but we talk about it as if there’s only one.

You know how Eskimos have all those different words for snow? I want different words for different types of quiet.

There is a still, which isn’t exactly quiet but is calm. It’s birds fluttering in the trees and wind rustling branches and ripples across a pond. It noisy without disrupting your thoughts. It’s outside in the morning, before the rest of the world is awake.

There is a low din of children talking to each other and playing that isn’t quiet but it is soothing like quiet is. It is a background noise that doesn’t rattle in your head, that can still feel like quiet: like the hum of a dryer or a dishwasher.

There are headphones in my ears, playing music to drown out the other sounds and that isn’t quiet either, but it feels like it.

There is a full quiet when you can’t hear any noises at all, like when you wake up in your apartment all alone, without your kids, and you realize they are noisy but you want a little noise, just a low hum that reminds you you’re not alone.

There must be twenty different kinds of quiet, which is to mean space with sounds low or calm enough that we can still think. I want to live in every one, alternating from this one to that one. I want the sounds, the little ones. I want the reminders of sounds when I don’t have them. I want the easy, quiet life with twenty different words for what other people call the same thing.

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