My caravan moves almost fifty years forwards linking Dylan´s slamming of the door at Big Pink to the bewildered echo that followed his silence after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature a few weeks ago. The noise then and now this thundering silence full of resonances provoke in my soul a similar feeling -as antagonistic modes of eloquence, anyway. Though separated by reverb and by decades of time, they were contiguous at the end of that scene about a biblical bet initiated by a stranger with a dusty voice. This is what I remember of it:
After accepting the challenge with his laconic response, Dylan had disappeared into the house leaving behind the echo of an angry gesture that raised a murmur of voices in the groups close to the back door. He soon reappeared at the threshold, his figure sculpted in a silence that resounded in the air silencing everyone before him. First loudness, then echo, then nothing, successive chapters in Dylan´s special rhetoric -that night of July 1967 and these nights of autumn 2016: "Sometimes the Silence can be like the Thunder."
Standing at the door, his mute eyes looked for me among the crowd, some people already beginning to retreat back into the shadows. I approached with a gesture that mimicked a half-smile, my shoulders shrunk, my hands open. He raised his own hands: in his left he carried two pieces of paper, a pen and a pencil; in his right, a mandolin which he propped up against the door. His silence extended the time. For a while, with a chill, I felt that Dylan was looking straight through me. My breath faltered but I managed to keep quiet until I heard him say:
- “Let's have that bet, Nar. We both agree the quotation is from the Book of Isaiah but I find it hard to believe that you know the Bible better than I do, and I still don´t understand why you had to contradict me in front of all these people. What were you hoping for? An applause, a medal, the Super Bowl of annoyance, maybe?”
- “I´m not in the business of collecting trophies. The truth is I had no intention of…”
Dylan interrupted me, raising his voice and tilting his head in a defiant gesture:
- “The absence of intention does not free you from its consequences, Nar, and that man in black by the fire has thrown down a gauntlet that you are going to have to pick up!”
He came over and handed me the pen and one of the two pieces of paper, roughly, without giving me the option to refuse or even choose.
- “Let´s do a blind bet. We´ll both write down what we want from eachother if we win. The size of the prize doesn´t matter. Do you get it? See you in a while.”
Then he turned and walked to the front entrance of Big Pink, where he had parked his car. His silhouette, as it moved away, was once again carved in silence. A rolled up piece of paper hung from his left hand: a still blank edict.
Nearly fifty years later, as I write these notes by the big round box that would eventually become my trophy from the bet, I imagine a memory of the future: another paper, this time framed as a Prize diploma. Maybe more S i l e n c e .