22 December 20XX
My Dear Lucilius:
This evening, as the snow and wind was slightly less than normal, I took a walk.
The argument could be made that this was an extension of my road monitoring duties – which, to be fair, have been almost nothing since Winter opened up here. No-one is moving very far at all – nor can I blame them. Without the comfort of an automobile to shield you from the weather, it is beyond just an inconvenience to travel – it is potentially lethal, especially with the fact that one does not know what the situation is up the road.
I drifted by the road where I typically turn to go home and continued on into the village, a scant 300 yard or so beyond that. We still have clouds which hold some of the warmth in – no bitter cold night with stars for us at the moment.
The buildings themselves are all decked in snow; one can tell by the amount which houses are still inhabited and which are unoccupied, either through being a summer home or simply by individuals who left. Smoke is drifting up from those that are, creating lazy spirals that spread up.
Perhaps one sees flickering lights – battery powered or even flame – in an occasional window but not often after dark: security and common sense dictate available light (although the smoke will give it way), while prudence means the windows are draped to keep in whatever heat is available.
I know in the past I have tried to convey it to you, but the silence remains pervasive to the point of deafening. No automobiles, no animals, no children out playing or adults conversing. Just the wind rattling trees limbs and the periodic drop of snow and the quiet gurgle of the creek that runs across the road from my house.
I am grateful, of course, for the silence. Silence in this new world can mean peace and relative normality; I suspect there are other places which have nothing but noise at the moment and are the more risky for it.
It makes me wonder, of course: for all those who could not live with the silence, for whom the bustle of civilization was proof of life and joy, how are they faring now? Have they adjusted? Or do they seek to fill even this silence with reminders of a civilization that at least, for now, has been put on hold?
Standing in the snow and philosophizing, of course, makes for a terrible combination with cold feet. So I turned and made my way back to my home.
While I have always loved silence myself, I had no idea until I pondered it how much it represented and what the lack of silence in this new world really meant. Sounds of Silence, indeed.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca