Does Happiness Have a Sound?

Lately, I’ve been amazed at how loud the autumn leaves are.  They crunch underfoot, and those left in the trees chatter as the wind blows.  And then there’s the haunting whisper of a leaf as it descends–barely audible–but still vibrating whether I perceive it or not.

I stop everything and gaze at that leaf.  It arrives on the ground soft and silent.  

What beautiful sounds never reach my ears?  If I stop and think about it, I’m hearing so many things at this exact moment I’m surprised I’m not crashing from auditory overload.

I know I’m growing older.  Movie soundtracks seem too loud and assaulting.  I can barely handle the frenzied circus beat of a video game.  I’ve been known to scream out, “Can’t we just have some quiet?

I want enough quiet so I can hear beautiful sounds:  the purr of a cat, the clink of ice in a tall glass of water served to guests, the hush of wool socks on the hardwood floor.  I want to hear the gurgle of homemade sauce simmering and the teasing fingers of the first drops of rain on the roof.  

And the measured sigh a page of a book exhales when I turn it. 

I take my hearing for granted.  One day, I might lose it all together.

I want a beautiful soundtrack to accompany this day.  I want to be still enough–aware enough–to hear it.  Living with flair means I manage the auditory track.  Might I be a gatekeeper for my ears and my living space?   Might I create a culture of beautiful sounds in my home–the kind of sounds that delight and don’t disturb?

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  1. Many times this autumn, I have stopped while walking a dog, looking to see what is making that racket in the brush and trees. Most likely it is a squirrel and I, too, am amazed at how loud the leaves and dried branches are. I had not seen a film in a long time till I went to see “Secretariat.” I will see it again (it is incredible, speaking to both raw, well-honed talent and the human spirit) but I will bring ear plugs as I almost had to leave due to the super loud commercials. At home, I will occasionally have radio on (no TV any more) or iTunes but most often silence – I have wind chimes outside, dogs inside and out, nature to fill the perceived void. Thanks for a lovely post.

  2. Heather – this is SO refreshing! The sounds are not something I think about much, but in reading this post, it completely resonates- like recovering a memory I had completely forgotten about. I love the way your words draw out the sounds in my mind. I woke up this morning to that pattering rain sound in the dark. Yes, sounds do bring happiness.

  3. Hello Heather, I so understand what you mean! I am only 30 and always had a keen sense of hearing. This can be annoying in cases of videogames or movie soundtracks. But it is also a great delight to hear things nobody else seems to notice, such as the flapping of a bat's wings (yes, you can hear that!) or the snow falling on trees in winter.