Around me are fifty or so men, in whose company I will sit and be silent for ten days. I eye them discreetly, wondering who among them is going through a crisis. Who, like me, has a family. Who’s single, who’s been dumped, who’s poor or unhappy. Who’s emotionally fragile, who’s solid. Who risks being overwhelmed by the vertigo of silence. All ages are represented, from twenty to seventy, I’d say. As to what they might do for a living, it’s also varied. There are some readily identifiable types: the outdoorsy, vegetarian high school teacher, adept of the Eastern mystics; the young guy with dreadlocks and a Peruvian beanie; the physiotherapist or osteopath who’s into the martial arts; and others who could be anything from violinists to railway-ticketing employees, impossible to tell.