A One Word short about the opposite of something.

No transcript...


Welcome to another One Word short.

For anyone new here, I write, shoot, and edit memoir documentaries based on a single word. Next month will mark one year of making One Word films, which feels like both a blip in time and a lot of time. My life has changed in a very real way because of this project. But that’s a story for another day.

We’re all so busy — even when we’re not. And maybe it’s me just getting older, but sometimes I crave emptiness like a man dying of thirst craves water. What a gift it is to appreciate a few minutes staring at an empty field…

I’ll stop there and let the film speak for me. After all, it’s the best version of myself. The part of me I know for certain is speaking truthfully.

Talk soon,

- T


In 2019, my wife and I were looking to buy a house with her sister. She wanted to live close to the city, and we wanted the country life. The perfect place seemed impossible. But on the first day of house hunting, we stepped through a door and walked to the back window and saw this field.

On that initial look, if someone asked me what’s out there, I would have said: nothing.

There is nothing in the field.

We saw lumps of piled stone, an abandoned mechanic shop, trees like a fading hairline, barely hiding the forest further beyond.

But this nothing that has bordered my home for five years is about to become something. In the spring, construction is set to begin on a new community, with a 10-floor condo, an orderly row of townhomes, and a strip mall.

And I feel this is a loss because I’ve come to admire the nothing. It is unique — I know no other field like it. Whereas the something that’s soon to replace it, I’ve seen everywhere.

These copy-paste communities always have a grey-washed tower of concrete and a parking lot where no one looks at each other in the eye. The chain restaurant will never be too busy, even on weekends. And at night, the LED streetlights only turn off if they are broken.

The last few weeks, when I wake up, instead of grabbing my phone, I’ve pushed the curtain back and stared at nothing.

At first, I thought myself foolish, that I was wasting my time. But unlike my phone screen, filled with so many things, this emptiness enriches me.

I let my thoughts pour out into the soil. In return, I am gifted moments of clarity and serenity. The more I practice making time for nothing, the more I am convinced it has a consciousness.

On the edges of the field at night I hear voices singing in the dark. Sometimes they are so loud that they wake us up, and in the morning my daughter loves to call back to them.

What is out there?

After weeks of making time for nothing, they introduced themselves. It was a mother and her pup. I watched her in a peaceful silence and when she was ready, she spoke to me.

She said she protects everything I have not seen or tasted or loved. Every time I replace nothing with something, she slips away. And I must find her again.

One Word
One Word
Taegan MacLean