I admit that when I go to The Northern Lights Lodge and I am there by myself one of my favorite things to do is listen for nothing at all.
(Except when I hear a bat in the chimney. That isn’t a favorite sound of mine anywhere.)
Yet, when I am at my home it is the silence that saddens me. Not in a deep, despairing type of sadness.
But a kind of melancholy that all things, at some point, change or come to an end in our lives.
This morning was a morning like any morning at my house. Nothing spectacular or remarkable other than it was another day I was blessed to wake up to the sound of my wife’s breathing.
The pitter patter of rain on the siding. The creaking of the hall floor as The Daughter groggily got up from bed to use the bathroom.
The slap of my feet when they hit the floor and the cracking of my ankles, knees and other parts on my 53 year old chassis as I got up from bed.
For some reason today I decided to listen to my home. More profoundly, to the people in my home.
Not just what they said.
But the sounds of their life that surrounds me.
There’s little routine to these sounds and I like that. I have never been much for routine. I suppose if I was I would have been wealthy and lived in a bigger, quieter house.
I don’t regret not having a routine.
There has always been the shuffling of feet on the floor. It started with the feet of my wife and I. And, before the sound of The Dude’s feet became a pattern of our life there was the scurry of his knees as he crawled from here to there.
There’s the creaking of the stairs. Louder today as both they and the children that use them have gotten older.
A chair being pulled out as a 13 year old girl plants her tired frame before the table and grunts that she would like toast.
The unwrapping of the bag. The sliding of the bread into the toaster. The pushing of the button down. The metallic clunk of the toaster ejecting the toast.
Knife across toast. Plate on table. And, crunching of the toast by the girl with the iPod watching YouTube with her headphones barely containing the noise.
The fridge opens. It shuts. The fridge starts up and turns itself off.
A cleared throat. A clunking of large feet up the stairs followed by a six foot two lank of young man with a smile.
Cereal poured into a bowl. A bowl put on the table. Juice poured into a glass. He plops himself down.
My wife comes in and the dishwasher opens. The dishes are removed and the glasses and plates make their own sounds as we take turns removing them, putting them away and replacing them with other dirty dishes.
I turn on the stove and the click of the pilot light sounds before the whoosh of the gas flame appears.
The toilet flushes, shower starts and a door closes somewhere.
A throat is cleared, the t.v. is playing, and a young man laughs downstairs as he talks to a friend on Xbox.
A sneeze. The hallway door squeals and shuts. The central air turns on and my wife walks in and out of the kitchen, her sandals slapping on the floor. My Daughter yawns.
The microwave buttons are pressed. It sounds when it is done.
My Daughter hums. Stuffs her backpack with her lunch bag. More doors open and close. Feet shuffle and some unknown sound happens somewhere else.
These are the sounds of my life in my home. Someday there will be fewer of them. My children will grow up. Move on.
There will be fewer creaks from the floor boards and more from the bones of my body.
The days of my life flash before me. I wish I could savor every day with the same deliberate moment of reflection I did this morning. As much as I vow that I will I find my will wanting when life intervenes.
I don’t live my life by meme or motto.
I try to live it without regret. Or with wanting to have someone else’s life.
My life is exactly what I want it to be. Even when it isn’t exactly the way I want it to be.
I smiled when I left my home this morning with my Daughter in tow. Not because I was happy to leave the house with the noises and sounds that have become my life.
Because I know that I get to come back to that place and listen to it all over again.
For as long as I can.