Lend me your ears! Hear the world around you.

Today is National Day of Listening.

What an interesting concept! Do we all listen in the same way – or even interpret this unique and obscure holiday in a similar fashion?

For the past year I have experienced a ringing in my ears – a probable side effect from treatments. The ringing is called tinnitus – and after a year I still haven’t figured out how to pronounce it. If I say TIN-it-tus, it sounds like a Latin philosopher, spouting profound comments while wearing a toga and peeling grapes. If I say tin-I-tus, I conjure up visions of an aging hobo, playing harmonica and stewing rabbits in coffee cans. Neither fits what I am hearing. The sound is like a tuning fork without the initial clang; just the constant, smooth vibration of sound afterward. And it kind of plays into the old “if a tree falls in the woods” question, because the sound is something that no one else can hear. 2017 update: I wrote and article for Energy Times Magazine about tinnitus).

All the noises

So on this Day of Listening, I am going to tell you about the other sounds I hear that allow me to embrace this particular one and accept it as part of my senses. I hear the sounds of Main St. just steps from my porch; police and ambulance sirens; the almost clownish squawks and squeaks of car security systems; and the chatter of people as they go back and forth to work or to do day to day tasks. Tuesday is garbage pickup day, and my 7:00 alarm. These aren’t obnoxious sounds to me, but reminders of the energy around me. The sounds of honking are minimal here – in Vermont, the general thought is to be patient and allow others a bit of courtesy while driving. Instead, I hear conversations sprinkled with laughter, and many wishes of “good morning” when passing strangers on the street.


Moon sounds

At night my dog howls out every now and then – for moments in her dreams she is decidedly a sleek wolf calling out to Dog Star in the light of a full moon. I hear the ring of my cell phone; the voices of friends and the gifts of their deep or funny or informative, but always loving conversations. Even the sudden beep of the breadmaker is a happy sound, sending soft puffs of yeast breath into the kitchen.

So you see, hearing the philosopher hobo in my head is a small trade for all of that, and there is so much more I haven’t listed. But I am going to hand it over to you. What happiness do you hear?

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2 Thoughts to “Lend me your ears! Hear the world around you.”

  1. Kathie Kelling

    How appropriate that this is National Listening Day as I begin teaching a class on Tuesday titled “Clear Communication.” And, of course, listening is a huge part of communication. I love introducing people to all the senses we use when truly listening

    Right now I hear the hum of the house heat, a new sound as the temps just got low enough to have it on in the evening and through the night. A sound that will probably not be here during the day when the sun is out and the grand & great-grandkids are running in and out and leaving the door open. Then I hear their laughter and complaints (he won’t share), all part of the joyous sounds of family.

    I live in the city on a residential street, a quiet cul-de-sac of brick ranch style homes built over 50 years ago. I hear small planes flying low as I am not far from the airport. Fortunately, the jets are too high to give any sound when they go over. We are tucked in here in a way that the sirens and such, although heard, seem a bit distant. I love my street and neighborhood. If I’m outdoors at rush hour, the hum of the freeway traffic almost sounds like the ocean surf – one of my favorite things to hear!

    And birds! Birds gather in my orange tree at all hours to chat and sing. Once when I couldn’t sleep, I taped the bird song at 11:30pm.

    I’ve never been one to have the TV or radio on at home as I enjoy the “silence” and whatever natural sounds are happening at any moment. Oftentimes that opens me to my inner voice, bringing inspiration or a new idea, and reminding me to be thankful for the beautiful gift of listening.

  2. trusttheuniverse

    Lovely! Thanks for sharing this, Kathie, especially the comparison of the freeway traffic to the surf!

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