The hollow cooing of pigeons on a chimney pot. In the middle of the school week, the animated conjoined noise of children's voices in a playground half a mile away drifts up the hill. On a still night down in the valley, the clackety drumming of occasional trains heading north or south - muted by a mile of distance.
The humming of bathroom fans before their timers call time - abruptly. Similarly, the churning and spinning of our washing machine and the gurgling of the dishwasher before it bleeps three times like a heart monitor by a hospital bed.
Occasionally when Atlantic winds surge over this island, you hear slates straining on our roof and the creaking of rafters, whistling windows and a kinetic roaring that falls and rises in gusts. Best heard at night.
These are our familiar sounds but sometimes I miss the sound of the sea. Waves grumbling on a barrier reef or bursting on sands . Chattering over pebbles, sucking at rocky promontories. And when swimming I hear the water's mellifluous lapping as I push it away - rhythmically moving over the deep.
And perchance in my dreams I hear familiar human voices from the past in the echo chamber of my skull. Never to be heard with my ears again. And I hear curlews and sheep and tropical birds and the acclamation of football supporters in a stadium - rumbling.
Music to lift you, reflect your experience, entertain you so that sometimes you lost yourself in it.
And in silence I hear my own pulse, insistent, beating. The internal sound of blood and indeed life itself. How many beats in a day? How many beats in a lifetime? Duh-duh, duh-duh. duh-duh, duh-duh but not forever. Only for a while.
The Bad News. I could be your online psychotherapist.ReplyDelete
I have no criminal convictions nor have I been the subject of any police inquiries.
As a cub reporter I covered the Scottish burgh courts then the Sherriff Courts and finally the High Courts for murder cases.
I saw a lot of troubled men like yourself in quiet crisis.
The Sherriff once had the Press in his chambers for a quiet talk, removed his horsehair wig and placed it on a wire wig stand.
He had a jutting jaw like Mister Punch and stern eyes but bent over backwards to be merciful to the guilty.
Advocates I remember: Malcolm Rifkind & John Smith later leader of the Labour Party and plausibly murdered by the CIA so they could place Tony Blair in No 10.
I am here to listen and never judge, so we'll start with your hangovers.
Like Tasker I watched a lot of troubled TV drama as a kid.
*The Human Jungle - opening and closing credits - UK TV 1960s.*
The only British TV drama ever to feature a psychiatrist.
The shrink was played by Herbert Lom who was Napoleon in King Vidor's War & Peace.
You never thought you were Napoleon, did you Neil?
I don't see why simply considering the sounds in my life and my memory should spark such insinuation.Delete
The slates must be skeetering down from my own mental rooftop.Delete
Put it down to the January gales that roar all night like the high seas.
Your cooing pigeons and heartbeats reminded me of the guy in Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher who hears sounds too acutely.
Dishwater bleeping like the heart monitor makes me glad I don't have one.
Rather poetic description of sound. I'm presently reading Visual Intelligence by Amy Herman. She deals with all the things we don't see. I finished Bill Bryson's the Body and he will tell you how many heart beats there are in a life time.ReplyDelete
Yes. I have read "The Body" Red. Someone has worked out that in an average human lifetime there will be more than 2.5 billion heartbeats.Delete
The sound track of your life, some on a previous track and some current. i suspect most of us hear similar thingsReplyDelete
Yes. I agree. My observations are not unusual.Delete
Quite reflective today aren't you? I miss the sound of the sea. I could go there and listen but only for an hour then I would have to be on my way home again to get there before dark.ReplyDelete
I thought Adelaide was right beside the sea.Delete
It is, but I still have to catch a bus to the city, then another bus or a train to whichever beach I want to visit. That can take as much as two hours, add the same time to getting home and you can see I don't have as much time as I'd like to be splashing through the waves.Delete
Are you trying to make me envious YP?ReplyDelete
I was puzzled by your comment and then I remembered that you are hard of hearing.Delete
You are in a pensive mood today, Neil. The cooing of doves is one of the very first sounds I can actively remember. From when I was a baby and my Mum let me sleep in my pram in Grandma‘s garden, surrounded by large old trees and houses where doves would sit on the roofs and in the high branches, I must have heard that sound. Later, my sister and I would play in that garden and hear the same sound. It is the sound of a peaceful childhood for me, of feeling completely safe.ReplyDelete
These days, some of the birds around here have been starting their spring songs, but the full, beautiful chorus is yet to come. I love that so much thatnit can move me to tears, especially now that my Dad will never hear it again.
I am pleased that this post helped you to reflect upon your own "sounds".Delete
I especially love the sound of rain or a storm outside at night.ReplyDelete
I agree. A big storm can be exciting to listen to.Delete
The sound of waves lapping on a shingle beach and then receding. I like the header photo - it's cheerily colourful.ReplyDelete
I spent some time finding that header picture.Delete
Those seals singing all night when I wild camped on the Blasket Isles last Summer. That's a lullaby sound I will never forget. It was like Animals by Pink Floyd. What about that sound when your favourite team scores a goal YP?ReplyDelete
Today my favourite team scored THREE goals! And the QPR fans were serenaded with, "Back to your shit hole! You're going back to your shit hole!"Delete
Nice essay on sounds. I attended a medical conference on death a few years ago. Medical economists have calculated the average number of heartbeats in a lifetime. Interestingly across species it is relatively the same. A mouse lives a shorter life than a dog, but their hearts beats about the same number of times, the mouse die sooner in part because its heart beats faster.ReplyDelete
What an interesting notion!Delete
There are so many sounds that fill our world, aren't there? And even our own bodies. Right now I can hear the morning songs of the birds, each with his or her own proclaiming the day.ReplyDelete
Sometimes we fail to note the sounds that we hear.Delete
I like this post, Neil. Very poetic and thoughtful.ReplyDelete
I was just thinking yesterday about some of the weird sounds my house makes. I thought that if I were to move, I would have to get used to all sorts of new weird sounds so I might as well stay where I am.
Better the devil you know.Delete
*A Bit of Fry & Laurie - Psycho Psychiatrists.*ReplyDelete
Bless thy five wits! Tom’s a-cold. O, do de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting and taking! Do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I have him now — and there — and there again, and there.Delete
Act 3, Scene 4.Delete
I told a pal that I had wasted my life because I had wanted daughters.
He has a loving daughter in her forties living in London.
*Would you have liked daughters like Goneril and Reagan ?* he asked.
*And what if you had rejected your one loving daughter as Lear rejects Cordelia, dead in his arms ?*
The uncle whose jeep was blown up in France had six daughters, no son.
I tried to write a story about a rich man of my own generation who has six daughters, all by different woman.
One of his daughters dies like Cordelia. It was a ghost story.
I may buy a Brazilian indigo parrot also known as Lear's Macaw.
They say that the grey parrot has the nearest to human consciousness.
But I am a fan of indigo like the dead daughter in my aborted story.
Are you doing okay, Mr. Pudding? Has the mean winter weather put you in a pensive, reflective mood? This post is a beautiful one, indeed, although it could be a little perplexing to those who of us who value the upbeat, sanguine prose that is usually herein written.ReplyDelete
Hello Donna. I just paused to consider the sounds that are in my life and in my head. There's nothing to be read into this. Reflection is healthy for all of us.Delete
I've always loved the sound of the word 'mellifluous' it's rather onomatopoeic. I live with the sound of the weather a great deal of the time despite the solid stone construction of much of my house. I'm not sure what I'd do now without the sound of the sea when I'm in the garden. I've lived with it for almost all of my life.ReplyDelete
Well that's pretty dark. Cheer up, Senor Pudding. Have a taco.ReplyDelete
Pretty dark? A couple of other visitors have thought the same but it was just me reflecting on sounds in my life and my memory. Nothing more.Delete