I went for a long walk by myself yesterday. Usually I'm walking with Tim or with friends and we talk while we walk. It's a nice combination of reconnecting, learning new things, discussing ideas, dreams and goals and also getting some fresh air and exercise. Multi-tasking. I love it.
Normally, when I walk by myself it's very purpose driven. I am walking to the library to teach. Or I'm walking to a dental appointment. Or the Post Office or Pilates class. That sort of thing. And during those walks, I'm deep in thought. I'm thinking about what I am doing right now, what I'm going to do next and what I will be doing later that day. I'm giving thought to the next meal I am going to make, the next birthday card I need to buy and deciding what colour I will polish my toes. I am considering a particularly difficult passage in a piece of piano music that I am doing battle with and wondering about the characters in whatever book I'm reading, and attempting to develop a new ploy that will perhaps allow me to win whatever level I'm stuck on in Candy Crush. Sometimes I am thinking about all of those things at the same times. Other than managing to not step in front of a moving vehicle, I'm not paying a great deal of attention to my surroundings.
But yesterday's walk was different. I was not thinking about anything, really. I was just enjoying my walk. I was appreciating the lovely temperature which was nearly the same temperature as my person which makes the air feel like bathwater! If I was of a mind to be a nudist, (which I am so very not) it would have been the perfect temperature for it. The sky was a cloudless perfect blue and the sun was illuminating every leaf, every blossom and every blade of grass. The water didn't lay flat and still but it wasn't high, crashing waves either so the boats just bobbed gently.
First I noticed the birdsong. There are so very many birds here, every colour, every size, every song imaginable fills the air. Sometimes I whistled back to them. Then it was the faint but unmistakable sound of a lawn mower. Somewhere, blocks away, someone was doing yard work. I heard a plane over head and a jet ski somewhere nearby. There was fountain in someone's front yard and I could just detect the tinkling sound of a wind chime somewhere nearby.
Further along, I listened to the sound of children playing at recess in the school yard which was shortly followed by churchbells and then that blast of the warning horn on the North Bridge telling folks that the bridge is about to go up! I could hear the sound of my own footsteps and the splash when I stepped into a puddle.
Occasionally there were car horns but usually just the thrumming sound of tires on asphalt. I could even tell the size of the vehicle coming up behind me from the sound. Once in awhile, someone drove by with their radio on and I listened to their music with them. Someone stopped me and asked for directions to the beach, "Go west, young man, go west!" and I pointed out the way.
When I finally got home and walked through the door, I heard the familiar squeak of the screen door followed by the thump of the door closing, and muffled through the closed door of Tim's office, I could hear that he was on the phone. The hum of the dehumidifier in the background of the family room, the click that happens just before the AC comes to life and the soft whir of the overhead fan would tell me that I was home even with my eyes closed. I know these sounds so well. Then Tim's office door opened, I heard it, he came into the kitchen where I was standing with my eyes shut just reveling in the sound of it all. "Hey, how was your walk?" he asked and I could hear that too, it sounded exactly like, "I love you" to me.
It struck me that these are the sounds of life. And I am forever grateful that now, with the help of my hearing aids, I can hear them all again. And considering all of the delightful sounds I was just enjoying, not hearing would have been an enormous loss.
May is Better Hearing Month, my friends. If you haven't already had your hearing screened, please consider doing so now. Don't take the chance that you might be missing out on the wonderful sounds of the world around you.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.