Today I know that my lawn-addict neighbor is again mowing his lawn. And someone down the street is doing the same. Next I will know that the weed whackers are at work. I can hear the evidence of some snoozing going on over on the couch .
The peculiar music of John Cage often comes to mind as I take in through my (aging) ears sounds that I find important that might be totally boring to others.
In boarding school I had an ongoing tug-o’-war with my roommate who loved to have the radio on all the time all the time all the time. The organized inflow of much music music music (think 1950’s and Teresa Brewer ) interfered with my thinking and dreaming. I would switch the little radio off. She would switch it back on. This sort of tug-o’-war has gone on with others in my life also — the TV addicts — the rock music addicts — the white noise addicts. Even people who cannot abide pauses in the conversation.
There is something I love about ambient noise. The occurrence of an event is sometimes only witnessed by the sound it makes. There is no sight, shudder, odor or news alert when someone chuckles or sighs in the next room. It just comes to the ear and you know something you did not know before.
The memories I enjoy are so often just sound memories. The jingling sound of children at play on the playground nearby. The special Julia Child tone of a mourning dove. The peepers in summer. (Did you ever actually SEE a peeper? I think I have never seen one, but I LOVE them!)
My grandson woke up during my recent visit and sang his two-year-old’s versions of Old MacDonald and the A,B,C song in his crib before calling out for Mama and Daddy to come get him up. It was heavenly music to me, listening in the guest room nearby.
- “Links” ~ A study in Negative space
small soapstone sculpture “LINKS” copyrighted SGH 2004
Negative space is a sort of silence. It allows “air” around something that is important to you. When I make a carving, the negative space is what I create! The absence of material is what makes the sculpture happen!
I wrote a poem called “Nosound” a few years ago. It is about the absence of sound — but that is a sound in itself– that happens when sound quits. To me, it is a magical thing. So maybe John Cage is less boring than I thought. (Or maybe it is I who am MORE boring than I though! )
As precious as
a first sip lying on the tongue
one shuts eyes to isolate
the taste from all else
sitting very still
not to disturb the essence
not even saying what it is
that envelopes all.
So certain epicures
sustain the rare quality
as a treasure maybe
in a lifetime.
and one longs to make it
as we seek to hold the end of passion
for this may be
the last time.
Nosound, copyright SGH 2004