I took a comfortable seat on my patio the other day just about sundown and closed my eyes. It took almost a full minute before I could begin to hear the ambient sounds and shut down my dependence on vision. Most were indistinct because I am used to seeing what makes these sounds. The wind picked up and moved the leaves in the bald cypress, and water oak trees I planted 25 years ago when I moved here. I turned my head and homed in on this sound I usually miss.
I opened my eyes and watched the fresh green foliage caress each and every leaf and wondered if they feel as soft as they look. Off in the distance I recognize the sound of a car revving its powerful motor and I again close my eyes and try and envision the driver, excited about the adrenaline rush they are experiencing. My mind drifts back to 1970 when I came to Texas from St. Louis in a 1968 Shelby Mustang GT350.
A distant siren cries out and it sounds like it is on (what I still call) Loop 201. It's most likely going to take the Garth Road exit and closing my eyes, I follow its progress as it goes past North Main. I hope I am never a passenger in one of those and I run a few scenarios through my mind before another sound attracts me.
A train blows it's mega horn and it drones its deep and lonely announcement of passage. The German Shepard pup next door imitates its sound and rattles the chain link fence of its enclosure. This sets off my Pomeranian/Papillion mix and Shi Tzu and they run around the patio screaming in dog language that this is their yard and to stay out. A plane takes off from the Baytown Airport and I open my eyes to watch it. I can't help that I was in the Air Force and want to see every single aircraft that flies over me. I will myself to close my eyes and resume my adventure.
Whoa! The motorcycles these days are incredible machines. I sure hope that fellow can control that missile. Blue Heron's straightaway sure is a tempting quarter mile. I listen and thankfully I do not hear the sound of the bike t-boning a car pulling out of the parking area at the park. I figure it is only a matter of time. The chimney swallows make a hurried pass overhead and I know they are gulping down mosquitoes. Why do the danged blood-sucking insects only attack me and not my bride?
I wonder what it would be like to have my bride lead me out on the patio early in the morning, say about 0600 and I stay out there with a cover over my eyes until sunset. I bet it would be the experience of a lifetime. I'm reminded that there is a lot more to life than I am currently experiencing and that this simple experiment in vision deprivation, really opened my eyes. I challenge my readers to give it a go.