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November 29, 2004

Turning Back into the Swing

As you can see, I pretty much took an unintended break from blogging during the extended weekend. I didn't lack for material; I'm actually carrying around several fairly ponderous topics that I haven't yet managed to address.

And it isn't as if I've been idle. Of course, we had a Thanksgiving gathering to attend. I dealt with technical problems on the Web site. We put up Christmas lights for the first time on our new house, including on a thirty-foot (or so) evergreen in the front yard (amid the boughs of which I risked life and limb to bring cheer — and light — to the neighborhood). I spent a great deal of time writing something for somebody. The basement needed cleaning so that it would be available if a Sunday gathering attracted enough children that they'd best be banned from the living room. And we baptized our second child into the Church.

As Thanksgiving shifted into Black Friday, somewhere between midnight and 1:00 a.m., I realized that I was too exhausted to give the dog his belated walk. Looking for some excuse to shirk, I went outside, hoping to hear rain. The rain had passed, though, so I unfolded a patio chair and sat next to a canine who, I was relieved to observe, seemed to have settled under the rattling fiberglass roof.

Sitting out in the fresh air — dozing, I'll admit — I attempted to layer all that I could hear. On top went the occasional car radios from nearby streets. Then the sound of wheels on wet pavement. Then the banging of a defunct Chinese food restaurant's loose sign. Then the wind in the trees. Drifting in and out of sleep, I wondered what sounds there might be at a layer with which I lack the experience to separate it.

Too many stadium concerts, nights at bars, headphones, and boomin' systems have left me with a lifelong ring in my ears. Although it is always there, I'm not usually aware of it. If I tune my hearing to do so, I can bring it to the fore, but it's really just part of the reality perceived through my senses and not reported to my conscious mind. What other parts of reality aren't we aware that we're perceiving?

Sometimes it is only when the noise of late-night traffic dies down that we can hear the wind. But the wind persists, nonetheless. The currents that flow through our lives carry on whether we feel them or not. Too easily, we forget that we have to stop and listen in order to know where they've taken us.

Posted by Justin Katz at November 29, 2004 12:50 AM