a foreign quiet

I am visiting my father, who lives in a medieval town in Brittany, France. Almost everything is made of stone - it is easy to think no time has passed at all between the time Josselin was first populated and now. The predominant sound here is the River Oust, which flows for 200 miles from Brest to Nantes, and the mill wheel turning opposite my father's front door. Otherwise, stillness. There are barely any cars on the road. It is a foreign kind of quiet, really - it takes a few days to settle into after the bustle of travel and the environment of busy-ness and noise and action that Ive left behind me. It's a quiet that takes me longer to sip my coffee, and peel a tangerine, and walk along the canal path. It's a quiet that makes me hear every single bird and feel every single breeze on my face and consider the artful arrangement of cobblestones. It's also a quiet that keeps me up at night, thinking about life and death and the landscape of existence that hovers, real and metaphorical, between them. A quiet that makes me feel too far away and too close, all at once.