My studio is on the third floor of an old building. It has two huge windows that swing inward, rather than sliding upward, and they face a courtyard with a single tree that reaches in all directions. During the day, what sounds like a huge crow caws in a loud, raspy voice, and a baby, probably newborn, cries intermittently. If I hadn’t have been listening carefully, I might have thought the child was a duck, quacking rather than wailing, sometimes near to me, sometimes from the inner rooms of the apartment where he stays.
Tonight I heard voices from down in the courtyard, speaking happily in German, and I realized that, because I don’t understand the words, they are not language to me, but instead merely sound, like the caw and the quack. It was a relief, the no storyline, but instead a sudden wave across the wind—a bell chime; a balloon, let go, flying by.