Sounds

The Chords of Memory

By Les Tanner

It’s a little after 3:00 a.m. in the spring of 2015 and here I am again in my nightly contemplation mode at home in Caldwell, lying on my back, hands behind my head, knees drawn up underneath the covers. I’m not sure which comes first, the contemplating or the position. In any case, if I’m like this, I’m thinking, and if I’m thinking, I’m like this. The thoughts are seldom heavy. When I was teaching, they were usually concerned with meetings, or exams, or a math problem of one sort or another. Now that I’m retired, they seem to do with fishing, or writing, or fishing. Or the car: does it really need an overhaul?

In all my thinking sessions, one thought constantly recurs: “Why am I lying here like this? I need my sleep.”

Tonight I realize I’m not so much thinking as listening.

It’s not that I can’t see anything. Light coming in the windows from nearby street lamps and the neighbor’s porch shows the outlines of furniture and the ceiling fan. And there are the many tiny lights that mark the cordless phone, and the computer, and the multiple-outlet thingies. But there isn’t enough light for me to see anything worth close examination.

Sounds, on the other hand, do prove interesting. Most of the sounds I’m hearing tonight are here all day, but they are masked then, not only by louder sounds but by sights as well. In the light of day, color and motion take one’s focus away from subtler things. So now I put cogitation aside and concentrate on sound.

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