Why don’t you try just being quiet?
If you can find some silence, maybe
you can listen to it. How it works
is interesting. I really can’t
explain it, but you know it when
it’s happening. You realize
you’re marveling at apple blossoms
and how they’re clustered on the tree
and you see the bees meticulously
attending every blossom there,
and you think the tree is kind of sighing.
Such careful beauty in the making.
And then you think, it’s really quiet,
but I am not alone in this world.
That’s how you know it’s happening,
there’s something solemn and wonderful
in the quiet, a slow and steady ease.
Whether the tree is actually sighing
is beside the point. It’s better to wonder,
you needn’t be precise with quiet,
it just becomes another thing.
It isn’t a science, it’s an art,
like love, or a dog who’s pretty good,
asleep in the grass beneath the tree.
Manning, a Kentucky native, is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and author, most recently, of One Man’s Dark
This story is part of TIME’s August 6 special issue on the American South. Discover more from the issue here.
This appears in the August 06, 2018 issue of TIME.