This morning I was rushing around the house because I was late as usual, trying to make a sandwich, take my blood pressure for a chart I’m keeping for my doctor and apply self-tanner, all more or less simultaneously. Then I exploded from the house like someone shot from a cannon. Later, I came across old photos from Italy and found this one of the cat that belonged to the villa where I stayed. So peaceful that just looking at it made me exhale all the worry and tension that keeps my shoulders standing at attention in anticipation of the next brouhaha. I remembered watching how slowly the night came down and how it smelled and the long vistas across the hills at blue dusk. The silence was bone-deep — no TV, radio, music. How many times does that actually happen in our daily lives? We’ve managed to distract the whole planet with our Stuff. At night, our stars are put in the shade by the ambient glow of electric lights, and even if the TV is off, chances are the dishwasher is running or the dryer is whirring or cars are passing the house. And, of course, the usual chorus of sirens, garbage trucks, leaf blowers and chain saws. I’m so unused to silence that I don’t even miss it until I’m reminded of how it didn’t sound.