on old maps

"As the rifles were pointed to his chest he wondered if what he had taken for the richness of silence was really the poverty of never being heard. He had thought the possibilities of human silence were endless. But as the bullets tore from the rifles, his body was riddled with the truth. And a small part of him laughed bitterly because, anyway, how could he have forgotten what he had always known: There's no match for the silence of God."

(Nicole Krauss, The History of Love)


With all this talk of purging, we thought we'd take on a few other rooms in the house and thoroughly de-clutter. But come Saturday morning, he and I were suddenly too distracted. 

We found a roll of old topographical maps that had once belonged to his grandfather. Most were black and white, the thin ink lines outlining various counties in Vermont. The others: colored depictions of New England according to the US Navy circa 1941. Still others, circa 1963. 

We sat on the floor, like small children, individually unrolling each map, tracing dried glue lines and pencil marking, made by his grandfather's hand so many years ago. 


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