Thursday, February 9, 2023


Sounds that keep me paying attention:


The thump and rattle of the furnace’s turning on in the morning. It’s so reassuring to have heat.


Kim’s soft whistle as she works on routine tasks. It’s a pleasing sound, and it’s pleasing to know that Kim is working to take care of me and our home. Her whistle is how the gift is wrapped.


The sad thump when a bird crashes into a window. Most of them – goldfinches, chickadees, and nuthatches who were at our feeders – survive this collision, but some don’t.


The dim roar of the west wind in the high trees, heard through closed winter windows. We are sheltered from west winds by a woods, but the powerful sound is frightening in a way that makes our home more cozy.


The soft lapping of the waves on the shore in summer, as we watch from our deck on the beach. This is especially pleasing as I think about it in February.


The sound of Kim’s breathing. When I get up before her in the morning and she sleeps in, I’m reassured when I listen at the door to hear this steady sound.


I turn a key, and I hear the roar of my car’s engine. Isn’t it a miracle that this happens? This is especially pleasing because of our winter isolation. I fear that AAA might take a week to get here.


There is that odd thump we hear at night when watching television. We have no idea what the cause is, despite my inspections, indoors and out.


Loon calls are magical – eerie, haunted, otherworldly. We don’t hear them often on Torch Lake – maybe 3 or 4 times since we’ve lived here – but still . . .. That’s why I made my phone’s ring-tone a loon call.


The crackling of a fire in the fireplace where friends and family gather.


The groan when I get up from, or down into, our couch.


The metallic sound of popcorn popping against the lid.


Silence. I rarely experience silence – most often when lying in bed late at night. We are far from any traffic sounds, the neighbors are gone in the winter, and the furnace is quiet because we turned down the heat. But the silence isn’t silent. I can hear some kind of faint hissing static that is somehow generated by my skull. I like to think it’s the sound of my neurons firing rather than my brain cells dying, tinnitus, or some other disease. It is, nevertheless, comforting – more so than absolute silence would be.


I don’t know why, but I like the quiet dripping sound of my coffee machine filling the pot.


Similarly, the crunch of an ice cube tray brings me pleasure in the evening.



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