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Where silence has lease - reflections on last night's Royals game

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Brian Kersey

Words are a funny thing. They can be pretty, or vulgar, insulting, or kind, often in the same breath. In their duality, they tend to linger in ears and tongues, making meanings anew and writing new stories from old stock.

I've always loved words. The way they can shape a conversation, insinuate a context that it isn't apparent, approach a story or a subject and, by virtue of the order they are arranged, create new relationships. Language itself fascinates me, in that what we hear are, from the base form of vocal communication, a series of guttural inferences, molded throughout centuries and millennia into a new form of understanding, representation, and communication. When you hear someone speak, you are hearing the echoes of a thousand generations, crafted with painstaking capriciousness, into the common tongue of our community.

My favorite definition of word is "speech as distinct from action." It typifies the divide between the written word and the spoken word, which holds within it all of the implied meaning that inflection and insinuation can provide. Speech, as distinct from action, compels us to nothing, but invokes us to a common understanding, a kinship, a communal bond thrust upon a social set by a narrow string of sounds and tones. Words, the language by which we communicate, from sound, of which there is nothing without a context or shape, a blank canvas filled in by the interpretations of the common brain.

What I love more than words, though, is for those precious moments in life when words fail. When our common language can not begin to express the subtlety, complexity, and uniquity of an experience. The birth of a child. The cold, loosening grip of a loved one slipping into death. The thrill of white water, the stillness downstream, the ache of a long day met with the comfort of a loved one.

Rarely do we discuss these moments, except in the narrowest of terms, because our language, our words, as capable as the sounds may be to confer meaning and representation, can not encapsulate the emotion of the event, and so we, when words fail us, when the world is quiet and dark, will sit in silence and think to ourselves, not of words and stories, but of pictures, and images, and memories.

I can't tell you what last night felt like. I couldn't begin to describe to you what it means. Perhaps you could find some commonality in a story, or maybe you and I could find a footing in a similar experience. But last night, there was nothing to be said, because there was nothing that needed to be shared. Through the shattered lenses of our own individual worlds, Royals fans, across states, and countries, between houses and rooms, in between the cold, narrow distance of bar stools and tables, found themselves experiencing a moment so singular, that any attempt made to convey what it means would be like speaking in a different language.

The mind captures what the mouth can not relate, and to all of you, to everyone watching last night, I offer you a space of silence, to settle in, reflect, and let the mind realize what the mouth can not convey.

Go Royals.