In this hotel room, it's just dial-up. No fancy broadband connection, no cable. Just a phone from which you have to dial "9" before you can get out of the building. This now seems quaint; even I have become accustomed to something faster. But it works. I scroll down the list of locations and find a few that are somewhere near here. Surely one of them will be available and working at this hour.
Just before the sound of the Internet connection, I think I hear the Internet: for the smallest of moments, an expectant sound, or perhaps not even a sound, just the space where I know a sound will be. Just for a moment. Something expectant.
Like on a Cd, right before the music begins. Just for a moment: a place where we know sound will be. Or that beautiful pregnant moment when you put the needle down ever so gently on a vinyl record, that space of recorded silence. That place where we know sound will be.
"Okay, quiet, everybody," says the sound engineer in a television studio. "I need to get some room." And we all fall silent while the equipment records what the room is like with all of us in it but nobody moving or speaking. A room has a sound, even when nothing is happening in it. A room has lots of sounds. A room even sounds different when the temperature changes.
There was an exciting sound on overseas telephones lines before satellites, a crackling path opening across the waves, preparing the way. You heard it and knew that you were getting a call from the other side of the world. Only one person could talk at a time. You couldn't hear and be heard simultaneously. Not any more; now people eight thousand miles away sound like they're right next door
Are you still there? we say in our cell phones. The sound on the line has changed. Maybe we've lost our connection. Yeah, I'm here, she says. I don't know what's with this phones.
The place where sound will be. That pregnant place. I think of the moment before everything came into being, or began to come into being, or whatever it did so long before we arrived on the scene. Of that gathering of the divine breath. That moment before there was anything, when God heard the sound of His own knowing.