Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: the call of the mountains


The rain is falling like fairy dust. It’s drifting down from the smudged, white sky. The sparrows are chattering, clinging onto brickwork and rattling off calls. One swoops up into the nest right outside my open balcony door. I hear a burst of cheeping, hungry mouths that never seem to be sated. 

It doesn’t help. It did, in the depths of lockdown. Every blade of grass helped. But now it’s not enough. 

You know how you can live perfectly happily until one day you get an idea into your head, maybe it’s to buy a specific pair of shoes, maybe it’s to visit a place, maybe it’s to tell someone something – but this idea suddenly takes up every available space in your mind. You suddenly cannot imagine getting through each day without actioning this idea, without satisfying its cry for absolute attention. 

I’m in that mind frame now and it’s the mountains that will soothe it. Two weeks. That’s all it is really, just two weeks until I’ll be in the mountains. I haven’t seen one, touched one, breathed one since last summer. How could that be? Where does it go?

I can feel it, hear it – extremely loud and incredibly close. I can’t think of a better way to describe it than Safran Foer’s gut-wrenching book title. But the mountains are taking up all the room in my head. And they’re quite large. 

Anyone out there feeling the same?

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