Thursday, May 11, 2017

There are no sounds of silence

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.

At 18, the muscle car had a lot of energy and I pushed the car quite hard a number of times. With eyes closed, I hear this modern car blast down Blue Heron Parkway and wonder if an LEO is running radar at the park. I open my eyes and watch 5 white ibis silently fly over me and they are most likely coming from the pond close by. Lately I've seen a pretty good variety of birds there, including wild ducks.

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.

"Erack erack erak!" The sound is coming from the corner of my house. Its a green tree frog male looking for a mate. I would get up and walk over to find it, but I know its between the gutter and the side of house. Its a beautiful green color and happily undisturbed. Besides, I am comfortable where I am, sitting at the table under the umbrella with my feet up.

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.

A radio comes on from a few houses down and it's "coun-tree" like they used to play and I wonder if its a CD or maybe better yet, a cassette tape. Shortly after that, I smell meat cooking and there are few smells more welcome than barbecued meat. I sub a class at a gym in Midtown and when I exit that gym usually around 0700, I smell BBQ and donuts and that, my friend, trumps straight BBQ every time. In this case, its almost a sin because the smell is outside a gym. I award myself 10 calories each time I smell it.

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?

Hank Williams turn into Aerosmith and the pungent odor of cooked meat causes me to open my eyes just as a blue jay lands ten feet away from me and loudly squawks. "I have nothing to give you old friend," I say and it looks at me and launches off like it was shot from a gun.

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.


Anonymous said...

BAM: I really like this one, Bert. Good job.

Anonymous said...

😳 You've found out my rendezvous with my secret lover, Silence.😊

Anonymous said...

Mimsy: You are at the stage of your life when we all have the time to ponder. The beauty of the simplist thing that was obscure to our scenses such a short time ago. Myself .....I asked Kara to picture trees with feathers & birds with leaves. Only then did she see the beauty of a single leaf & feather. You have started on a beautiful mind adventure. Travel on.

Anonymous said...

PG: Very good article Bert.

Anonymous said...

DDC: Bert, I sure did enjoy your column in The Baytown Sun today. I'm sorry I didn't post this sooner. It was great! I love the way your writing inspires people to think. Thank you for what you do, and that you're very good at it. Love you, brother.

Anonymous said...

That was interesting to me Bert. So odd that we want to travel the world, but don't explore our patio. I might just try the blind exercise....Debi

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