My granddaughter awakens in me a sensibility to the wonders of nature. When she was very young, she called me to stop on an afternoon walk in the neighborhood while she pulled up some stalks of timothy grass – to feed the sheep we might encounter around the corner. Our 1960’s neighborhood was tree lined with manicured lawns and a nearby greenway. We indeed encountered the occasional deer or fox; I have not yet seen the Easter lambs she wanted to feed. Yet just the wonder of it all, the anticipation, opens my heart.
She’s older now, nearly a teen, sharing with me what she learns in school. Speaking of a chorus class, she remarked that her teacher asked the question “What is your favorite sound?” Her answer, “Hi, Sam,” produced confusing stares among classmates. “And why?” “When I open the door to my mom’s house, I call “Hi, Sam”, and I hear the two cats, Sam and Dean, and two dogs, Malcolm and Hannah, running to greet me. I know I am home.”
I told her I wanted to write that question in my journal and think for awhile. What is my favorite sound? The rush of water, the splash of waves, the songbird, the humming in my heart when things are going right, coffee percolating in the early morning, the greeting of a friend or stranger that says I am not alone, the heartbeat of a drum, singing bowl, the sound of silence as the sun sets on the day?
An unavoidable cacophony of sounds creates the backdrop of any day – the flow of traffic, screech of tires, sirens, horns, hums of generators, clicking of keys. Without an intentional awareness, nature’s soothing intonations can be dismissed. Listen. Waves undulating all around with messages intended to alert, comfort, create anticipation, start a conversation or make a joy noise. What is your favorite sound?