No noise from jostling traffic or an onrushing metro train. No hum from the computer fan. No jumble of voices bouncing off the walls of a frenzied shopping centre. No television, no radio, cinema, CDs, MP3s or other instruments of the late-20th-century cacophony in which we are immersed every blessed day of our brief lives.
Listen, now, for the sounds that 1,000 years ago - a millennium ago - would be heard in this place we call home. Tall and ancient trees moaning in the clean wind. Water rattling through rocks and rapids and lapping quietly at the pebbled shore. A bird's stabbing cry. The quick rustle of unseen wildlife in thickets of underbrush. The echoing rumble of thunder or splatter of falling rain.
Add to this no pollution – no hazy foggy city skyline fading away in the sounds of the city. No milky haze that erases all color to whitish blurs. The eyes wander far, over a river and a forest and then out over the sea until the earth meets the blue sky in a fine clear line. A bird flies out on the sea – how long can you follow me? A deep breath fills you lungs with air – clean crisp air.
A primeval atmosphere. Stars abundant - shining, twinkling, moving. It is a mystical perfect silence of the stars. Arcturus the bringer of spring rises in the east. The majestic milky way passes the zenith – so bright that she throws gentle shadows of the nearby trees. Add to this the murmur of human voices gathered together - a fire's crackle. Times Square - New York, a 1,000 years ago. World population – 220 million people.