My satellite radio is tuned to classical music. Soothing. Not intrusive. Classical music represents beauty, harmony, peace. Passages of music catch the periphery of my consciousness. I know this piece, I think. The fourth movement of the Sibelius second symphony. I greet it as an old friend.
The music fades into the background like the Whittington chimes of my grandfather clock that sound every fifteen minutes. I often don’t hear the clock chime. Sometimes I hear the clock’s whisper soft ticktock.
My neighborhood is quiet. I don’t hear noise from neighbors. I rarely see people walking in the street. Few cars pass by. Occasionally, the faraway wail of a siren, the roar of a diesel truck.
Coming into the Indian Wells Valley for the first time. I was impressed by the barrenness of the High Desert landscape. The majestic vistas bathed in brilliant sunlight. Three hundred thirty plus days a year. The Sunshine Capital of The U.S., proclaims a sign greeting people driving from the north into the little town of Inyokern. I can live in this valley, I thought. And, I did. For ten years.
Arriving like an unwelcome guest, a ferocious wind from the north, hissing and roaring, mindless of boundaries, blows a seething cloud of particulate from the dry bed of Owens Lake. The wind shatters the quiet. The particulate hangs in the sky like a gray pall, a mass of depression, heavy and dense, obscuring the brilliant sunlight.
“People know what they do; they often know why they do what they do.
What they don’t know is what they do does.”