“If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”—or so goes one of philosophy’s staple questions. One might think the question too obvious, and reflexively cry, with careless impertinence: “but of course,” wondering why so simple a question was posed. But even science will vouch that a receiver, a hearer, is needed for sound to be classified as sound. Thus, the compression of air that occurs within the ear canal that excites the many hair follicles that produces sound, when absent, begs this philosophical conundrum—this question about sound’s existence. Of course, this riddle derives its intrigue from the fact that it is practically unresolvable: that it cannot be scientifically ascertained. And anything not scientifically determined does not exist in today’s reality or within today’s scientific imagination.
The smallest organism viewed through the lens of a microscope is larger than the largest stars; just as our myopic moon sometimes eclipses our sentient sun—and makes us walk by its secondary light—sometimes we see men as fuzzy trees in noiseless reveries. Beguiled by the madness of nearness and internally transported by the music of the distant spheres, implosions become louder than explosions and Black Holes more real than White Lights. When reality is measured only subjectively it ceases to be reality. Just as aloneness is unresolvable except by company and the noiseless felling of lone trees unnoticed except within the context of a large-scale deforestation project, so reality is only known in its entire subjective and objective context.
Yet the disconnection of disparate parts of reality, as splintering facets of knowledge, is behind all commonality of experience; it is illusory to think that artificiality—armless trunks banded together—can reach the status of natural limb and leaf and nature’s intertwining embrace. Though the essential fiber of my own being is saturated with knowledge unknown to others, parsing me to the core will yield an essential fuel; whether I fall or remain erect is substantially a private affair, but the public eventually hears of my fall (and their scrutiny lights me on fire).
At the back of all there is to say is the lone voice, barely perceptible, even to a sophisticated or discerning ear. The clamor of the carpet and the tease of the trees are but the white noise canvas upon which the charred and black words accentuate their existence and meaning. Bold relief is needed to free one from the constraints of symmetry and indistinguishable existence. Beams and planks and boards are forms of a bygone glory and the skeletal frame upon which I now hang the weight of my internal world; outside lays my past experience among the groves of knotted oaks and lean majestic cedars. You heard that I was felled; you came and made the best of me. There upon the forest floor you came upon a silhouette of prostration, silent but for the creaking made lying across those ancient arms: my forbears embracing me and holding me out into the shafts of sunlight peaking through the hole in the now damaged canopy above. Like a Black Hole, I am known not for who or what I am (or was), but for space I now do not occupy. My legacy lingers and my past has a voice some have heard; but when I stood sentry over my solitude, when I boldly took my stand, no one saw or heard me.