Dark Heavy Silence

February 1-21 Sunrises, Leah Wilson

I run before the sun rises for the opportunity to be alone in the silence of the forest.


If I arrive later, pairs of runners will pass by on the trail. I can hear their chatter before I see them. I hear snippets of monologues about a recent irritation, usually workplace irritations. Contrails of chitchat linger behind them after our convergence.

Consider a Tree 2 - Leah Wilson

Consider a Tree 2, watercolor paper, 8 x 8 in., 2019, Leah Wilson

Replacing Chatter

I run in the predawn to replace the chatter in my head with the stillness of the dark forest. My mind fights to block out the heavy quiet with incessant jabber about recent irritations: irritations about the day job, irritations about the tightness of my hamstrings, irritations about anything. It has its favorites. I am so bored with them all and I do not want to be dragging all of that with me as I run. I yearn to hear other chatter: the owl when I approach Fox Hollow, the creek, even the rhythm of my straining breath and the slapping of my footsteps on the hard packed trail. Near the end of my run birds prate with the rising sun. I welcome in this chatter. But when I hear the songs, I know that it is time to leave.


Metanoia Catalyst Roots on the Ceiling

Metanoia Catalyst (detail), roots, 6 x 6 ft., 2018,  Leah Wilson & Kate Ali

Three, Four, Six

As I leave I see groups of three, four, sometimes six or more runners on the road. I can imagine all of the chatter that announces their approach and lingers behind them as they trod forward.

Ambient detail - Lookout Creek (Creekbed) - Leah Wilson

Ambient (Detail – Lookout Creek Creek Bed), oil on panel, 12 x 36 in., 2015,  Leah Wilson

Heavy Blanketed Silence

I am grateful to be leaving before their patter tries to egg on mine so that I can sit in the memory of the predawn stillness and hold on to the forest’s soft babble in the heavy blanketed quiet for just a little while longer. It is within these spaces of stillness that ideas and illumination into the next creative step slip in before the chatter of the day resumes once again.

Human Error - Lookout Creek White Rock - Leah Wilson

Human Error: Lookout Creek; White Rock; October 11, 2014; 3:12 PM, oil on panel, 40 x 40 in., 2015,  Leah Wilson

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