Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
The Weight of Sound and the Thickness of Air
Tuesday, September 5, 2023 | Nic Wilson
Breath feels like a person’s most immediate form of need. Water and food can wait and intervals between pissing or shitting can be measured in hours but breath is so essential it hangs at the periphery of consciousness. The conscious mind can dictate these intermittent needs. You can forget to eat and even choose to starve but breath is much more slippery. If you forget about it you still maintain a breath pattern but if you start to think about it you can fool yourself into believing you might never take another unconscious breath. Unlike blood flow or digestion, which one has little to no conscious control over, breath can be held strategically (while swimming in water or escaping a house fire) or become a tool. You blow out the scented candle the way some distant ancestor blew pigment onto a cave wall to capture the negative space of their hand. In the Bible, God creates Adam out of dust and breathes life into him through his nostrils. Breath has been used as an essential signifier of human life itself. Along with keeping us alive, it connects us to the lungs of people around us; a sometimes unbearable intimacy especially after 2020. That year, unlike many others I have known, the air became charged—politically, emotionally, economically, environmentally—like the gasses in Earth’s upper atmosphere when the Sun’s radiation shoots through it, triggering the glow of the aurora.