The Signs of Silence
Many Have Glimpsed a Mystery in the Quiet Intervals
by Steven FaulknerSitting on a limestone outcropping on a summer night, my skinny boy arms wrapped around the worn knees of my jeans, an old bolt-action Marlin twenty-two my father gave me lying beside me in the prairie grass, I was watching the moonlit valley below and listening to the wind. Beyond that little valley, the Flint Hills of northeast Kansas rolled away beneath a pale night sky flecked with a few faint stars. Above the hills, the south moon was rising impossibly large, a pitted limestone wheel.
I was ten or eleven, in love even then with the summer wind—the steady, warm blowing that was traveling from somewhere beneath that moon—running lightly over miles and miles of prairie hills. Thirty feet below me, a two-lane blacktop road ran west with the night, segmented center lines stepping away into darkness. A limestone farmhouse a quarter-mile away rested in the restless shadows of cottonwood trees, and one window echoed the rising moon. Beyond the house was a quiet stream where I had often hunted and fished.
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Steven Faulkner teaches creative writing at Longwood University in southern Virginia. He is the author of Waterwalk: A Passage of Ghosts (2007) and Bitterroot: Echoes of Beauty and Loss (2016). Both books are memoirs of father-son journeys that followed the paths of missionary priests: Marquette (in Waterwalk) and De Smet (in Bitterroot).
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