What does it sound like? We can hum our favorite songs, and if we are not deaf we all know what thunder sounds like. But wait…does it thunder at the North Pole? The Google says it does occasionally thunder at the North and South Pole. New information. What is on the soundtrack of our lives? What are the Sounds of Silence?
Yesterday I had a reason to use the word percolate and this prompted a childhood memory of the sound the plug- in percolator made . Kind of like a whoosh and a pop. I’m pretty sure that those of you who have never heard this sound are having a hard time imagining it. I am also sure that there are sounds we have heard that are unforgettable. Our babies first cry, the chorus to our favorite song, water running over the rocks on our favorite hiking trail- these are sounds that happily reside in our memories. There are very loud songs like a jet engine, or a thunder that shakes the windows, and there are very soft sounds like the sweeps of a broom, a whisper or the quiet hum of the refrigeration. The sound of police, ambulance and fire truck sirens grabs our attention and that is their purpose. Brahms Lullaby plays every time a baby is born at Poudre Valley hospital and this gets my attention too.
I remember sounds from my years in elementary school. The quiet swoosh of the eraser on the chalkboard and the muted slap of two erasers together to clean them. The sound of chalk writing on the chalkboard. Some teachers wrote crisply and others wrote more cautiously. I am almost certain that there are no chalkboards in schools built after 2000. Now it’s the click of computer keys that fill classrooms. A few pings thrown in for those who have snuck their cell phones in. Phones set on vibrate still make a muted buzz sound and this sound can be felt too! So new sounds are created and some are lost. Who remembers the “whir”sound of rotary dial telephones?
Bubble gum pops! Balloons pop! A loud pop is also the sound of gunfire. How will victims of mass shootings ever forget that sound? Some sounds can traumatize a person for a lifetime. Screams of anguish can never be forgotten. We need to be careful of very loud sounds which can harm our hearing. That is why the extremely loud music of rock concerts may have impacted our hearing. Sound is measured in decibels. High decibels can actually hurt us. I hate movie theaters that crank up the sound so high that I squirm in my seat. And then we have “Stop mumbling”!! Or “Speak up” I can’t hear you.
How many of us say “ I just want peace and quiet.” So many sounds are assaulting us all day long: horns honking, heavy equipment breaking up concrete, the neighbors music, engines revved up, the sounds of T.V.s droning on, phones ringing and notifying us of texts…and on and on. Ne quiet! But I am uncomfortable with complete silence, I think sounds are important to ground us to reality.
The best sounds are made by the human voice, and the best of all is the sound of “I love you.”