Gustafson: An unrequited love affair and homage to that which sustains us |

Gustafson: An unrequited love affair and homage to that which sustains us

Britta Gustafson
Then Again

We know that sensation, whether we take it for granted or wake with overwhelming gratitude, of the silence of a soft white quilt pulled gently over us as we sleep. It’s our No. 1 commodity, a call to adventure; it can wreak havoc or awaken the senses. It’s powerful, deadly but beckons beautifully. We cherish yet abhor it at times. We need it and its fragile impermanence. It washes away the deprecation of humanity and connects us with primal power.

Try as we may to control it, manipulate it, move and shape it, it has a will of its own that no one can conquer. Hence the adventures it promotes and the fantasies it induces. It promises renewal and defies discipline.

At times it feels cold and angry, ready to rage and force us into humble compliance. At other times, it tickles and plays with us, teasing our imagination. We can’t resist it’s soft seduction, while feeling compelled to escape before it bites. Sometimes offering a slap in the face when we expected a kiss.

From the warmth of shelter it calls us out, but the deceptive allure reveals its omnipotent force when it catches us off guard.

And, oh, the sound of silence — that protective, insulating hush that fills the air with peace, drowning out the constructs of civilization. Or the provocative whaling, crying out in its efforts to penetrate our shelters.

It can punish us for trying to drub its celestial fury, whipping with the force of a thousand stinging needles. It can roar down on us with tragic cruelty or reward us mightily for enduring its wrath as we come to rest on its soft nurturing bosom.

It simultaneously reminds us of our insignificance while assuring sovereign self-reliance. Bolsters our fortitude just before it piques our fears and reminds of its supreme might.

Like a lucid dream, its blinding radiance mutes and accentuates the landscape, confusing the senses. It hits the tongue like sparks, and then gently trickles down the throat. Freezes the olfactory glands, yet smells conspicuously undetectable and burns the skin — so cold — encouraging a quiescent mind.

We need, we love it but can it ever really love us back?

Let’s exchange a piece of my mind for a little peace of mind; after all, if we always agree what will we talk about? Britta Gustafson appreciates an open mind; share yours and email her at