Sounds

I associate the sound of Morning Doves with my grandmother’s house in Minnesota.  As a small child, probably 6 years old, I remember hearing them in her yard and asking someone (who did I ask?): What is that sound?  I have heard Morning Doves in other places, but they remain vividly tied to a particular place and the visual image of my grandmother’s yard with its evergreens.  When I hear Morning Doves, I can’t help but go back to that place.

I’ve been trying to think of other sounds that have strong associations similar to this seemingly passing experience of an adult giving a quick explanation to a 6 year old.  The sound of a very hot, humid night where the insects sound as thick as the air?  I can imagine playing “kick the can” as the darkness falls and the noise of the night creatures increase, ending with the voice of a parent calling the first child home in the neighborhood.

Most of these sounds, that elicit such memories, seem to be from childhood, like the sound of the International Harvester morning factory whistle, that marked the change in shifts, but also the start of my day.  I can see myself laying in my bed as a child, listening for the whistle.  Sounds unconsciously shape who you become.

I can always tell if it has snowed overnight.  As I lay in bed, I sense the quiet of the world around me–a world blanketed in snow.  I find myself, in that world between sleep and waking, listening for the rumble of the snow plow to confirm what the rest of me already seems to know.  And recall the joy of going into my girls’ rooms when they were school-aged and whispering in their ear–snow day!

 

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