Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sound of Silence

It has been a busy time. I'm doing the last minute cramming for my test. (3 days away, but who's counting?) I've reached the point where I've stopped being anxious about it and am just wanting it done. Big things always tend to devolve to that. I find myself wearily looking at the thing close up and thinking, 'No matter what, at the end of the day, this will be behind me, and I'll be glad for that.'

In the midst of all of this, I've been helping Cara move, which was useful, because it gave me the fodder for my next column which I was able to sit down and tap out in an evening. I was feeling pretty good about it, and went to close it out, and somehow managed to click on 'don't save changes,' and lost the whole thing. It was the groan heard round the world. I wrote it again, while it was still fresh in my mind, and wound up staying up later than I wanted to.

You know, we've been having some wicked storms lately. Lots of tree damage. On the way to Cara's, I saw a mobile home that had three large trees fall on it. That's a bad day, there, when three trees fall on your home. We've been lucky. We have two very massive trees in our back yard that we've been contemplating. They keep the entire yard very dark, but they are ancient and huge, and they will cost a fortune to take down. Still, in violent weather, when they are thrashing and limbs are dropping off (one landed, like a spear into the ground, and stood there at attention) we find ourselves thinking once again, "What on earth should we do about those trees?"

Coming home from Cara's, travelling due north through the center of Pennsylvania, the mountains go on and on until they turn into nothing more than the very distant blue hint of mountains extending on into infinity. It was breathtakingly beautiful to watch the far away storms from that perspective, giant jagged streaks of lightning shooting straight down into those blue mountain shadows. All around me, wherever I looked, I could see dark dramatic clouds and far off lightning. I loved that trip home.

It got me to thinking about how I love to sit in my quiet house and listen to the rain trickling in the eave spouting, the hiss of a hard rain on the pavement. The rumbles of thunder. The sound of the wind. I haven't had a radio in the car for some time now, and in the quiet, I have rediscovered the joy of small sounds. I have discovered the joy of listening, and hearing. That pleasure has extended outside my car, and into my home. I rarely turn on the television or the radio, preferring instead to hear the small sounds that have always been there, but somehow managed to get lost in the noise.

The Amish regularly go by with their clip clopping horses and the rattle of wagon wheels, and I like that. It gives you a moment where you feel as if you shut your eyes, you might open them and discover yourself in another time.

I like the sound of train whistles in the night. They give you a moment where you feel as if you shut your eyes, you might open them to discover yourself in another place.

I like to lay in bed and hear the church bells downtown chime the hours through the open window even as my own clock in the hall chimes the hours as well. I must admit that happy synchronicity happens infrequently, because my clock has the habit of rushing on ahead, and I'm always slowing it down. Usually, my clock in the hall chimes, and then a couple minutes later, the church bells sonorously intone their correction.

I like the ticking of clocks. I don't know why. I always have loved that sound even as a young girl. Maybe that's the pleasure in it, the memory of other clocks in other places in other times. I have the keywound in the hall, but I also have a small key wound alarm clock in the bathroom. I lose track of time easily being a daydreamer, so I need a clock there, but I like getting ready for work with the ticking in the background, soothing me but keeping me mindful of the time as well.

I like the sound of windchimes. I have a giant set of them that sound like churchbells. I have hung them on the back porch where the wind doesn't stir them much, just enough to make them whisper to themselves, so that they sound like the echo of distant church bells.

I found a small odd box at the Goodwill. I was intrigued with it. It has a magnet in the top of it, and it is filled with steel bb's. You turn the box upside down, and the bb's stick to the magnet. When you set it down, one by one, the bb's drop onto some horizontal tubing and makes the tiniest chiming noise you ever heard. It took me a time to figure out its purpose, but when I did, I was plainly delighted with it, standing there with a silly smile on my face as I listened to it in the crowded store. I could not wait to show everyone at home, and for a buck ninety-nine, it seemed like an affordable luxury. (For the record, everyone at home looked at me as if I were foolish.)

It IS a foolish post, I know, but I was listening to the quiet, and I wanted to capture it, what it sounded like to be me in my place, in my time.


BUSH BABE said...

Love it... I too love the sounds of 'nothing'. Turn off the TV and radio and a whole world opens up to us.

Great post.

Scotty said...

Sounds good to me, Debby :-)

jeanie said...

You get to hear the sounds inside your head when there is nothing else "turned on" - I am glad that you invited us in.