Silence, Leopards, and Princess Diana

On a bus from Ciudad de MĂ©xico to Oaxaca I was drifting in and out of sleep. The journey lasted from 17:30 to 01:30, but the atmosphere was immersed in total silence from the moment I embarked. The curtains were shut to facilitate rest and hardly an utter was heard. I marvelled in piece.

Several monitors were featuring an animal documentary in silence mode, with even the subtitles disabled. Felines in the sahara such as lions, leopards and hyena were hunting pray in the form of antelopes or other large mammals. Leopards, notoriously fast and agile creatures, particularly caught my attention. Having spotted the pray as large as several factors in size, the leopard eventually outpaces the victim, acting either solo or in groups. Leopards tended to approach the pray from the rear, clawing into the regions difficult to retaliate. On occasion the leopard would leap and mount the pray from above in effort to slow or subdue the creature while the satellites approach from the sides.

Each encounter culminated in a bloody affair of an exercise in the food chain. After the leopards decapitated the victim in a fashion much graphically depicted, the camera repeatedly employed a close up maneuver to emphasize the satisfied blood soaked expression on the beast’s face. As the documentary was featured in silence, I reimagined the setting as a Kurasawa battlefield with accompanying drum rolls. It carried a poetic feel.

I never previously realized how effective leopards operated even among tree tops in the course of pursuing a wild bird (itself resembling an effective hunter), proving versatile in multiple domains.

The documentary that followed was that of Princess Diana, initiating in the period sometime in the 70s and leading into the royal wedding. I never paid much attention to anything of the sort. However, the absence of dialog or audio accompaniment inspired me to introspect into her origins and character, relying on imagination as a smoothing parameter, and finding elements of admiration and attraction where traditionally has not been the case among political or royal figures. I have an occasional tendency to admire a person’s abstract image in contrast to after hearing the person speak.

On long international flights I don’t typically crave to watch a film, but I welcome an occasional silent feature on a screen to the row at my front. The experience tends to be more gratifying than the full audio feature, as I let my mind cater the dialog, the language, and the ambient effects to my desire.

I find silence fundamental to nurturing creativity and inspiration. Too much directed or unfilterable noise and I find myself incapable of generating an original thought. Silence takes effort to attain in the midst of much advertising, television programming at establishments or news broadcasts at airport gates. The merits of effective noise cancelling headphones demand serious reconsideration.