I ponder a lot of randomness. Driving home tonight, I heard something…in fact a radio show about hearing things in our environments. It was delightfully thought provoking. Noises and sounds. Although I understand both words, and use both frequently, I’d never really pondered them aside from their definition. Ignoring dictionary specifics here, these words have different visceral and emotional meanings for me. We are constantly bombarded by noise. In my experience, noise is the incongruous cacophony of things. Its the environment living and breathing around us, with us in it. Traffic. The hum of electronics. Chattering passersby. Honking cars. Neighbors mowing. Crying babies. The jogger and the cadence of footsteps pounding the sidewalk. The automatic doors of the store and their small squeak as they are almost completely open. Shopping carts being racked into each other. We constantly filter and process multitudes of noise, our brains ignoring or pulling out things that might be important or dangerous. Constantly processing.
If you only give yourself a moment to consider your routine, you’ll probably develop a lengthy list of your own noises.
Sounds are not these things. Sounds are something more. I feel certain sounds as almost tactile, often emotional, and PART of my personal landscape. The ring of my Grandma’s phone. The constant murmuring water in the fish tank. The single 90 year old floorboard by the hutch that quietly eeks as I make the progress to bed each night. The welcome home doggy giggle when I open the front door EVERY TIME I come home. The cicadas in late summer and the crickets in early fall, all screaming out for a chance encounter in the night. The gurgling fermentation fumes of my daddy’s homemade wine. The coyotes on the ridge opposite my tent, yapping, howling, and communicating their hunt to the entire pack. A canoe paddle slipping in and out of the water. The bagpipe troupe walking around the park festival. Screech owls. The subdued crackle of a campfire. These are sounds…only a few…but SOUNDS that when I think of them, even briefly, bring me a rush of recognition, the feel of a place, the smell of a place…more than just a fleeting memory, as if the entire world of that moment is recreated just for me. I could write pages and pages around each of these sounds. It’s that real.
It has to be beneficial for our brains to turn down the volume of the noise, and turn up the volume of the sound. It’s beautiful to live in moments that we are able to immerse ourselves in repeatedly with the chirp of a cricket.