Marvelous Silence

    Things are quiet now, the racket is over, and silence, marvelous silence, is about to gather us in. I feel it in the air, I see it in the light that glistens on the honeysuckle leaf in the outdoor shower, and, as happens every fall, the feeling is delightful.

    Of course the world remains with us, and we with it, though to be spared the hyperactivity of summer — and each succeeding summer does seem to be more frenetic than the one past — is a blessing. We can think now, if we’d like, stand outside ourselves a bit, and breathe.

    “At least the air is still free,” I said to Valerie in the I.G.A. as I put a two-gallon bottle of water down on the counter yesterday.

    Yes, something’s in the air here. In the air the world’s leaders are breathing too, it seems. Syria may get rid of its chemical weapons, Iran may not pursue Armageddon, a president has agreed to consult Congress — after all these many years.

    All of a sudden, sanity seems to be on the upswing. Maybe it is the crisp air, the clearer light. Of course you never know about tomorrow, but that’s my weather report for today.

    “As for Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Haiti, my main peeve,” I wrote in a letter home in the fall of 1994 — almost 20 years ago — “is that presidents act unilaterally in such cases, without consulting Congress, and by extension the citizenry. We are more often than not presented with a fait accompli. . . .”

    We weren’t this time, and that’s to Obama’s — and Putin’s — credit, though I’m not sure saber rattling ought to be touted, as it has been, as a guarantor of peace. Still, Obama is to be commended for having withstood, at least for the moment, the cries of the bombastic bomber crowd.

    But enough of this, enough of this cacophony, confusion, and suffering; I was talking of fall and how tranquil it is here.

    Can we not take a cue from the sun, as Socrates did, and posit that life tends toward the good, that that should be our concern?