Road to Canada, through the Sweet Grass Hills.
On the road in the American Northwest.
. . . In a World at War with Silence . . .
The most basic complementariy of music is that of sound
and silence. In the early vocal music of Western culture,
silence meant breath, silence meant new beginnings or birth,
and, of course, silence meant a kind of recurrent rounding off
Like all complementarities, it draws as a pattern of movement
not a straight line but a circle. The silence of death become
the silence out of which rebirth is born, like the empty space
left by falling leaves reveals the new buds of spring.
I joked with those I met along the way in the great landscape
of the Sweet Grass Hills that they should bottle the silence
there like spring water and sell it. Image that, uncorking a vintage
cask of Montana silentium and savouring it in New York
But the petrochemical-military complex, and their accomplices
in crime—the entertainment-information industries—are seemingly
everywhere at war with silence. And with what success! Imagine
the difficulty! How is it possible to turn the noise of trashing of the
earth—in glaring self-evidence at every bend of the road—into
the universally broadcast and readily consumed illusion of
wholesome development and good fun?
This is the question that confronts you in the depth of peace and quiet
that resonates throughout the Sweet Grass Hills. Why has the dominant
culture gone the way of noise? Why has it chosen to break the sound /
silence cycle apart? Why has it attemped with such a sustained
violence to fill every empty, silent corner of the world with more cars,
more radios, or more TVs?
I suspect that if one were to walk these hills long and hard enough,
that one may very well find the first beginnings of an answer to