Silence – Paves Ways for Memories

Today was a most interesting day. Most probably the quietest day of my life. It started this morning at 6:30 AM when I felt Sue reach over the top of me and turn off the alarm. I asked her if the alarm had gone off and she said something and nodded her head. I immediately knew I had a problem as I never heard the alarm and I never heard Sue. All I could hear was my heart beat against my eardrums which gets annoying quickly but in itself is reassuring that life is going on. We have figured out I can communicate if she talks loudly directly towards my ear. In mid morning my left ear gave me about a two hour reprieve and I could hear at about 25% volume out of it, then it quit again.  Scary, but I have confidence that the good Dr. will figure something out tomorrow so life can reach some normality. What this day has accomplished though, is it has given me some time to contemplate what sounds mean a lot to me that I would miss if this would happen to be a permanent situation. Topping the list of course would be the sounds and voices of Sue, the boys, their families, and especially the happy voices of grand kids. It didn’t take one of the three year old grandsons long to figure out if he was going to yak at grandpa that he needed to stand on a chair next to me and shout in my ear, and that he did with gusto.
Next I started considering the time I have spent on the lakes and in the field and the music it provides.  At the time I would have consider it to be quiet times, but to think of them now they had a lot of things going on that kept my ears busy. Thinking back it was more like soothing music that put the complications of a young teenagers life back on course.
When I was a youngster in northern Minnesota,  life sometimes got a little too intense, so I would borrow the neighbors boat which was docked below our place and rowed out through the wild rice and bull rushes to drop a hook, worm and bobber over the edge of the boat to the weeds below. There is nothing so soothing as the lap of water against the boat, or on the shore . The sound of the Loon with its haunting cry could take a young mind to many pleasant places and none of them had to do with the cows that would need to be milked in an hour or two. Frogs? How I loved the sound of the frogs. They have always given me the creeps to touch, but I have always loved the music in their croaking in the evenings. Then there was ducks and geese and their mating sounds and family squabbles that would break the silence, and even now and then you would hear the sound of a bass as it surfaced for its supper. The only sound from those trips out on the lake that left a negative memory was the hum of the mosquitoes. When they showed up I knew break time was over and it was time to address the cow chores.
The woods was not a place for quiet meditation when I was younger as there was just so much to see, touch and do.  So the appreciation for the sounds of the field and woods didn’t really take place till I started still hunting and also hunting from a blind or tree stand. There’s a hundred different sounds to be heard while you wait for the sound of the cloven hooves of a deer making its way through the leaves on the forest floor toward your location. The sound of an elk coming is also unmistakable as it isn’t near as dainty as a deer. There have been bear, bobcat, mink, squirrels and other animals that have made their way past my stand and they all have their own sounds that identify them. Many a bird and many a squirrel has set on a limb not far from me and notified the whole forest within a half of a mile that I was there. As irritating as it was then, it is only a pleasant memory now. Probably the two most soothing sounds in the forest is the sound of the wind whispering through the tops of the pine trees and also the quaking of the Aspen as the wind follows its unseen paths through the leaves. So much more could be said about the bugling of the bull Elk, the snort of a buck deer, the grunt of a rut crazed bull Moose, or even the rolling of rocks as Mt. Goats make their escape. One day I even got to enjoy the percussionist of the forest as a Pleated Woodpecker drummed out a happy tune for me. I thought at the time its too bad there wasn’t a Ruffed Grouse around to add to the beat. There are also the haunting howls of a pack of wolves and the screaming of a Mt. Lion and the rattle of a snake that probably don’t give a feeling of well being, but are all part of the music that is heard in the forest.
Maybe I’m a little bit greedy, but I would hope these sounds would be more than a memory in my future. Strike up the band again!

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