At the end of every day, Flipboard sends me a summary of the day’s news, a list of stories they consider most important in the latest news cycle. Today’s list included stories about Google’s $5-billion fine; accounts by the Thai boys of their ordeal in the cave; Elon Musk’s apology for what he said about one of the divers who worked to rescue the boys; several stories about Ozymandias (aka Trump) and his difficulties (those he’s encountered; those he’s created); and a number of others.
These stories, these events, according to the folks at Flipboard, are what mattered today. Allow me to differ. Brian Andreas wrote today in his Facebook blog “StoryPeople” (sic), “One of those days when I’m looking for the kind of thoughts I’m used to because I don’t really like the ones that’re actually there & it hit me I could also just sit here in the sun & not listen to any of it & I’d be perfectly fine.”
When I decide not to listen to the roar of the flood of news that matters most to the people of Flipboard and virtually every (it seems) other major news outlet and that they apparently think should matter most to me, too; when I sit in the sun and in stillness so deep I might almost hear the music of the spheres; then I catch intimations of other things that matter, like Elijah caught not in fire or wind or earthquake but in the “sound of sheer silence” (1 Kings 19:12).
And then I hear again the opening lines of William Alexander Percy’s poem, “Home”:
I have a need of silence and of stars;
Too much is said too loudly; I am dazed.
The silken sound of whirled infinity
Is lost in voices shouting to be heard.
I once knew men as earnest and less shrill.
An undermeaning that I caught I miss
Among these ears that hear all sounds save silence,
These eyes that see so much but not the sky,
These minds that gain all knowledge but no calm.
When do we make time in today’s media frenzy to listen for “The silken sound of whirled infinity”? It’s there, waiting, perhaps even wanting, to be heard. And it’s what matters today and every day.