Without Sound

Intermezzo andante teneramente
(August 2004)

Lost would be a place without sound.

He knew what lost would be like.  It would be a clang of alone and a low roar of heart pounding and if he let go of the hand we would be lost and that’s about what it would sound like.  That was his first memory and it came back at times.

Time he couldn’t remember when life had no sound.  Always leaves and trees and wind piling through.  Peepers and coyote if you were on the edge of town and even in the silence of snow the tick tick of the heating and the tock of the mantle clock.  Dark wood sounding the seconds a chestnut brown rattling.  No one wound the chime anymore, the rhythm seemed enough.  He could always bring that back.

Other times sounds ran blasting their own way through, taking their own path and their own time, fighting for his full attention.  Holding onto one was fearful work, while the others clamoured for more.  And even the one you’d grab hold of had no interest in turning itself into anything useful.  It wasn’t as if notes and scrap built themselves naturally into movements and line.  Long lines of melody spring in from a rumble of thinking.  Life as a series of moments strung together without purpose.  He could never get that.

He couldn’t get it when his life folded on itself and patterns he’d seen before re-shaped and re-played themselves, a decades long pulse that he sometimes thought he could just hear if he held himself still long enough.  He’d never really had the time.  Never taken the time.

Now might be a good time to try.  Now might be a good time to still right down and see what he could hear.  Reeds thin and clear.  Lose the clatter and roll.  There’s a pattern to everything, just a matter of how you hear it.  What way you get it.  Sit five people in a room and their conversations will ebb and roll like a good tune.  Cellos listen well.