below the noise

Morning, May 1

Dear Loves,

The sounds of morning have been beckoning me awake these days. (Hmm, even as I write the last few words of that sentence I ask myself, to what am I being beckoned to awaken?) This morning it was the thrush, her pure toned trill piercing the dawn, pulling me up from the darkness of sleep, inviting me to rise.

I sit on the porch now, cup of hot coffee in hand, bundled in my grandmother’s afghans against a damp chill.  The steady drip of lingering rain (or is it merely a dripping from saturated trees overhead- it has poured buckets atop them in the last 18 hours or so) seems a fitting companion to my dripped brew, each of them clearing my foggy head in its own way.

The sounds of heavy equipment below disturb the morning quiet, though it is not yet even 7 am.  I have also noticed recently that local small truck traffic –delivery, tradesmen, propane, construction and the like– seems to prefer the strip of road that passes through our small village for their morning commute. Their rumble irritates the morning for me. I was called awake, I thought, to be with the percussive drip of rain and the melody of birdsong. Instead I am sitting with my awareness of noise…

Though many consider our little village to be idyllic, and it is in a way, it is not at all quiet here, really, if one pays attention. There is always the background noise of machinery, to which one simply grows numb after a time. As is so often the case, when one doesn’t attend to the background noise in one’s life until it is suddenly gone, I most often am aware of this noise in retrospect, when stepping out of the car when arriving at a truly wild place, for instance, far from the nearest roadway or town.

I wonder what low level of noise pervades my inner village, of which I am unaware until it is suddenly gone, and which hinders my ability to hear the subtler song of my life.  Anxiety, fear, neurosis, anger, negativity covering over loneliness, sorrow, grief— even joy and wonder.  I wonder how I might be invited to awaken to them too, welcome each into my awareness. And I wonder if, as I want to label these particular seemingly obtrusive morning sounds as unwelcome and not-belonging, I also label my own less-than-beautiful inner groanings as not belonging to me- some purer version of me that I imagine might be possible, if only. Might my perception be the problem—of good or bad, true or false (self), holy or profane? I could choose to be grateful for those – as clearers of debris, bringers of fuel, repairers of the broken.

It rains more steadily now, drowning, just somewhat, the noise that is still here. Oh, I really do hate the noise of the machine, let me at least be honest if I cannot be pure. The pure tones of that morning thrush are now a mere remnant fragment of dawn.

Perhaps it is a low lying depression that angers me.

Perhaps it is nothing at all wrong with me. Perhaps it is ok to be .

It rains harder now.

For a brief lapse in the noise, a bit ago, I caught the faint chorus of American toads calling in the pond below.  Yesterday morning, out walking at dawn, I stopped by their watering hole, delighting in the filling up of that throaty sac, the trilling vibration, their jumping upon one another’s backs in their own frenzy of spring awakening. A few young turtles, floating dead man style, their four limbs dangling from still bodies, their heads above water just far enough to catch a breath, were up and about there as well. That pond was bone dry a week ago. At each winter’s the property owner releases the dam, which  holds the meandering creek back,  in order to do his inspections and repairs to his swimming platforms. The stripped naked mudflat remains an eyesore  for several months. I am perennially saddened at the seeming disregard for flora and fauna his actions indicate, as if the lake is a commodity for human consumption alone.  And though that interference distresses me, it also delights me to see how quickly life returns with its filling each spring. It takes so little, really, to thrive – a muddy pond of trapped water will suffice. Perhaps they have adapted better than I. 

I recently heard Barrack Obama say that ‘If you have a community that stands behind what you stand for, you’ll have more power”, so is it a powerless thing that fills me with negativity, or a lost sense of belonging?  A yearning for a shared ethos? The need to let go?…adapt in order to thrive in this muddy pond of trapped water.

As I walked along in yesterday’s dawn, I felt as if I was inside an art film- the sounds up close, amplified by some internal microphone within me—the tinkling of a windchime like a call to prayer, the rush of wind high in the trees calling me to pause and watch the dance, the squish of mud beneath my boot rendered in slow motion as a reminder to tread softly, the sudden surprise of a deer in my path evoking a quality of hidden, yet always present and accessible, enchantment. These too are accessible to me if I listen below the noise. Perhaps there are multiple layers then. This deepest well of grief also glistening.

That walk felt profoundly healing to me to be out of my house at dawn.

This morning it rains, much too hard for a wander.

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