Tuesday, October 3, 2023

I’ve Never Been This Age Before!

By Rosemary O’Keefe

The “Sound of Music” is a movie many people enjoy viewing more than once. I’m not thinking about movies but about the sounds we seldom acknowledge.

If you and I were having a conversation over a cup of coffee and I asked you, “What are some of your favorite sounds?” I’m sure you would have to ponder a bit, first, this being such an unusual question and just what are the sounds you do enjoy? Seems we probably seldom give much thought to that topic.

Music would be on many people’s list. Music is defintately a sound that can enhance a mood for me. My favorite type or style to adjust a mood quickly is classical piano. Chopin and Rachmaninoff are the composers I enjoy the most. I often use their music to alter a mood.

I can remember the “oh” moment when I learned from an instructor of music at SIU, that the reason younger people play their music so loud is because they want to “feel” the music. There is a young man who occasionally drives by my house on Locust Street and the sound of his music brings out feeling for both of us. I sometimes think his loud music actually vibrates his car. If I were predicting, as some older people love to do, I feel he will need a hearing aid sooner than most people his age. Someone told me that Santa Clarita audiologist specialist Nolo Aronson has been helping people for over 35 years with hearing troubles so at least I know who to go to if his hearing does get worse. I hope it doesn’t continue to get worse but you never know what will happen with health. And if he were to get a hearing aid, I’ve heard that there are plenty of things that he can do to keep his life as simple as what it is now which is great! My friend’s son has been told that he needs one soon and his doctor has recommended to him that he should consider having a look at these phones for hard of hearing people so that he can still get in touch with people over the phone without having to struggle to hear them. I think it’s a great idea as he will still be able to live independently. I hope this young man thinks about getting this if he does eventually need a hearing aid, which I hope with all my might that he doesn’t. I don’t know him but smile to myself each time I hear him coming up the road, because I know he’s feeling the music.

I’m not sure, but I believe I am more sensitive to the sounds around me during the fall and spring season. It could be that I am so at ease with the temperature, pleasant breeze and sunshine that the sounds add to my comfort zone. Some sounds I seek out are the singing of the birds or the bluejay squawking. Some people, who study nature, call the bluejay the “sheriff” of the forrest. Have you noticed the sounds the crow makes? It seems to always be in the distance and the “caw-caw” is heard no more than three or four times. Their sound brings out the melancholy in me as I remember the visits to Bristol, Tenn., to visit my daughter, Becky. She lived in the country overlooking a beautiful river, she had a huge front porch which I loved sitting on early in the morning drinking my coffee. You could always hear the crows and their sounds. When I hear the crows here I always say, “Hi, Becky” and recall a memory or two about our time together both as when we were mother and daughter and I was in charge and later as we discussed philosophical concepts and feelings about her having to leave her wonderful world too soon. I feel memories must be mother nature’s medicine for the soul.

In the spring I find myself listening especially in the evening, for the first sounds of the frogs and insects that seem to do most of their sounds in the dark. Many of us, as children, remember laying outside on a hot summer evening. I could never feel comfortable laying on the grass, I always laid on a quilt. I loved the mystery of the darkness, the sparkle of the stars and the sounds of the night. One of my favorite sounds on such an evening was when I would hear, “Now hush up everybody, I want to tell you a real scary story.”

Of course all sounds are not pleasant and exciting to experience. My most disturbing would have to be the time I hear an animal or a human crying. I know that crying is a great emotional outlet and so necessary to bring back a balance to both mind and body. I’m sure the sound of a baby’s cry immediately brings out the rescue mode in most of us. I remember the automatic thought of “what’s making this baby unhappy.” Fortunately, most of the time it was the need for food, a nice warm cuddling and of course our own theory that a diaper change was needed. For those of you who have experienced a crying baby’s tummy trouble, we used to call it colic, just know my heart goes out to you. Most caregivers can identify the cause of a cry by its type or tone. Whenever a group of children are playing and one cries out the tone of the cry determines if it’s an injury or a disagreement.

Would I sound as if I am less sensitive to humans than to animals if I told you my initial response to a kitten or puppy crying, especially if I could not see them, would bring a heightened sense of rescue more than for a baby cry? I found after viewing scenes from the recent storm Issac the images that stuck in my mind were the animals, cows, horses and dogs that were on the highest ground out of the water and not the people gathering their belongings and getting into a boat. I suppose I know from life time experience the fate of the animals.

Another sound that can bring our a sudden anxiety is the sound of an automobile turning off its engine in your driveway. You then hear car doors slam, notice I said doors, and then several voices, enjoying lots of talk, sound as if they are near your front door. All this while you are standing in your kitchen and only one thought was triggered when you heard the car doors slam shut, “Oh my goodness, I’m not even dressed and this house is a mess.” Remember Ann Lander’s always said, “Call before you come over.” Sounds like good advice especially if there is more than one person.

Another experience, I had recently, involves the sounds reflected in the time and manner of an event. I attended two city council meetings and went away with much appreciation for the people giving of their time and interest for mine and your comfort as we live in this town. Among the sounds reflected in words were respect, concern, appreciation, curiosity and solutions. There is a certain procedure used in meetings concerning opinions, ideas and compromise. I found all the people there, representing us, following the procedure perfectly. In fact and I looked around the table at the young men and women, yes, they are young, remember I’m 81, I was impressed. I suppose because I’m a teacher we always reflect on our students. After the meeting I said to myself, “I bet some of their teachers would be proud to know their students grew up to be caring and responsible people.” Believe me when I tell you these men and women have many, many areas to cover for our town’s well being. I found them to be a dedicated group. Now, I know that after or before a meeting they bring men and women, joke with each other, giggle and make fun of each others idiosyncrasies, that’s just group dynamics. However, I can assure you once that gavel sounds it’s all business and done in a business-like manner. That’s why we have such a pleasing town to live in, somebody cares. And I think all of them for that.

More later.

Love is a gift.