silence still greater

Occasionally I pass by little shops – in the rue de Seine, for example. Dealers in antiques or small second-hand booksellers or vendors of engravings with overcrowded windows. No one ever enters their shops; they apparently do no business. But if one looks in, they are sitting there, sitting and reading, without a care; they take no thought for the morrow, are not anxious about any success, have a dog that sits before them, all good nature, or a cat that makes the silence still greater by gliding along the rows of books, as if it were rubbing the names off their backs.
Ah, if that were enough: sometimes I would like to buy such a full shop-window for myself and to sit down behind it with a dog for twenty years.
[Rainer Maria Rilke, Malte Laurids Brigge]

silence still greater

eyes, peeled

Reading, like speech, is an ancient, preliterate craft. We read the tracks and scat of animals, the depth and lustre of their coats, the set of their ears and the gait of their limbs. We read the horns of sheep, the teeth of horses. We read the weights and measures of the wind, the flight of birds, the surface of the sea, snow, fossils, broken rocks, the growth of shrubs and trees and lichens. We also read, of course, the voices that we hear. We read the speech of jays, ravens, hawks, frogs, wolves, and, in infinite detail, the voices, faces, gestures, coughs and postures of other human beings. This is a serious kind of reading, and it antedates all but the earliest, most involuntary form of writing, which is the leaving of prints and traces, the making of tracks.

[Robert Bringhurst, A Story as Sharp as a Knife (1999)]

eyes, peeled