Familiar Sounds

I did this free write in June, before my son was born. It is raining here, everything is bleak and dark. I decided to re-post it here while he is playing, and share with you again.

There is a divot on our street that always becomes a puddle when it rains. The streetlight at the corner of the t-intersection in front of our house maps its position, and gives it that look you see in the movies when they show the freshly washed city streets to denote the somber dark of urban night. It kind of shines of its own accord at night though, neither reflecting nor absorbing the dull yellow glint of the light above it. Its just a puddle, only water, but looks like a plate of steel, or a bottomless pit, yawning to swallow the next errant footfall or tire.

I am looking out the big bay window in our house at that puddle, and wondering at the familiarity of it, even though we have only been in this house for a little while. It is always there, always makes that short *splish* noise when a car goes past. I know it has rained if I wake up and hear a *splish*. I know there is someone driving by whenever the sound reaches my ears from inside the house.


Sounds. I am thinking about sounds.

The sounds around this house, the hum of vehicles on the streets just outside our small enclave of Wonder Years homes, the distant *clack-clack* of the train as it moves through our neighbourhood just to the North of us, they do not feel out-of-place anymore. The occasional bark of a dog, shout of a neighbour, or *brohmmm-brohmmm* of a lawnmower. The birds in the trees that grow along the hydro lines behind our house that remind me of the farm each morning when they greet the day, twirps and chitters echoing in through our open window. These sounds are part of my day now, merging into it, rather than excluding themselves for me to catalogue each time I hear them, new and interesting. They have become comforting instead of disruptive.

I suppose these sounds could be classified as a rhythm, a heartbeat of life here that surrounds me with familiarity I did not know I would find peace with. This place, this house, this suburban wind of streets has given me something that I never expected, and that is a new place to call home. I never expected to call anywhere else but where I grew up home, but here it is, and I am grateful for it in so many ways. Never before would I have thought the *tick* of a wall clock soothing, yet here I am, listening to it as I write, immensely reassured by the noise, coming exactly from where it should, the kitchen.

I know a home is made up of more than familiar sounds, but of emotion wrapped in experiences and memories. I understand all this yet, I am still amazed at how one set of senses can evoke a powerful response to something, and create a memory that in turn prompts the others to add their own sentiment. Along with the sound of *splish* from our puddle, comes the smell from the fresh rain on the lawn, the sight of the wet driveway pavement and water-drops on the large-leaf hosta yawning out to cover the garden bed around it. Paired with those is the feel of the wetness on your skin when the breeze blows the rain in under the eaves as you leave the house, bent to avoid the coldness of it on your face, dashing to the car.

But always first for me is the sound. I can close my eyes, hear the sound, and in my Mind’s Eye, comes blooming forth the picture of what made the sound, what it looks like. This, I think, is what gives it familiarity. This is what makes the sound part of what I am now calling my home.

Sounds evolve, and grow, and change with the seasons here, this I know already. I sweep my eyes over the expanse of our dining room, living room, and kitchen, and realize that soon, these sounds I find as part of my catalog will be changing, my son adding to them with the repertoire that new babies bring to any home. Part of me is sad that too soon it will be up-ended and changed, and part of me is excited to add to the already comforting sounds that make up my world here.

Perhaps I am reading too much into a simple sense, giving emphasis to something as simple as hearing. Perhaps it is because I am up, glass of milk in my hand, heartburn at my chest, and a hiccupping baby in my womb.

I can’t sleep, even though my eyes betray the fact that I am so tired, I look as if I could sleep for eons and never wake. Perhaps this is the onset of late pregnancy insomnia that I have read and heard about. Perhaps it is an active brain from two weekend-days of pre-natal. I’m not sure, but I am awake, and listening to the sounds around me, the quiet of the house like a warm, fuzzy blanket around my shoulders.

For right now, I do not want to change it, and I will hold this memory in my heart, to remember when I am unable to conjure the peace I need.



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