Divine pause

the gap

About 45 minutes from where I grew up, in sniffing distance of the River Alde, is the Snape Maltings concert hall.

Inside the varnished room are taught strings and shiny brass, outside a reedy forest, oozy mud and ducks. Concert-goers in jackets and dresses sip interval wine with herons and frogs.

It’s known for its acoustics. Strings are richer, brass is brighter, drums make your heart vibrate. (I played there once with the school orchestra. It doesn’t – unfortunately – fix flat notes from scratchy violins.)

A music teacher once said you can tell an orchestra has connected with its audience when there’s a big gap between the last note and the applause.

I experienced this at Snape. The symphony hung – leaving a vacuum of nothing. Breath held. Existence suspended.

A divine pause.

Then the hall crashed into clapping and the orchestra relaxed. Press play and life goes on.

I think it’s the pause – the nothingness – that holds the most truth. You sense it in the deathy gap before the next breath. The silence between sentences. The last vibration of a bell.

Action obscures reality.

We see truth only when we stop.