Feeling under the weather, I drove to the library to pick up a documentary.  I came home with random selections from the DVD stacks.  I must have misunderstood the blurb on the cover of Touch the Sound*.  This was supposed to be about a deaf musician.  But there is nothing deaf about this woman who speaks English with no hint that she can not hear her own words, who doesn't wear aids in her ears, who plays music not just by herself but with other musicians.

How do you hear?
With my whole body.  How do you hear?
Well, with my ears.
So what is the difference?

We learn, from an early age, that there are five senses.  Is it in this formalization of how we perceive the world, that we limit our ability to perceive?  We think of deafness as silence, blindness as darkness.  But here is Evelyn Glennie, a so-called deaf woman to whom sound is life, unfettered by definitions of what it means to hear.

What is the opposite of sound?
Not silence.  Even in silence there is sound, though we may not be able to perceive it.
How so?
Sound is vibration.  Life is vibration.  Even a stone vibrates.
Is there an opposite of sound?
Death, perhaps, comes closest.

drawing with eyes closed while listening to Evelyn Glennie and Fred Frith's "A Little Prayer"

* Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer whose other documentary Rivers and Tides is equally as stunning, about the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy.

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