For the last four days I have been living in a rambling house situated on the side of Catawba Mountain, keeping company with four cats and a handful of chickens, house-sitting.
Sitting at the kitchen table this morning, I ate a bowl of granola and looked through the big window out over the dark ridge. Its edge bristled with the scraggily outlines of trees, tracing a heavy black line across the pale sky. Slowly, the expanse began to glow keen and blue as an unblinking eye.I fall asleep at night in the perfect silence of the empty house, and wake in the morning still bathed in silence. To wake is to float slowly up toward consciousness, swimming toward the surface. It is like the moment at the end of a great chorale, when the conductor lifts his hands and all the singers breathe together, hearts beating in the silence of the rest before the final chords.

Up here on the mountain, I live inside a frozen music.