Friday, June 24, 2011

sounds of summer

The birds chirp sharply, even before dawn. Get going, they demand. The sun is almost up. They want us all to make hay while it shines, I guess. Hush, I tell them as I slide the window shut above my head and roll back into sleep. Not yet. 

Neighborhood construction starts loud and early, too -- a truck beeps into the next-door driveway and workers crack siding off the house before I even shower. Lawn mowers duel, traffic drones, children shout in the distance. Even the leaves can be kind of loud as they laugh in the breeze. Summer vibrates with sound, miles from mute and muffled winter. Separate, even, from the stop-starting stirrings of spring. Summer is everything full blast.

But for me, so much sound actually equals some  silence. Some space. Its true that with all three kids home all the time, a steady stream of voices saturates the air. But while some of this soundtrack splits me open with squawks and squalls and squabbles, the general cadence is a more gentle rise and fall of voices.

Voices laughing. Voices singing. Voices reading. Voices sillying. And much of the time -- voices pretending. Scheming and constructing the secrets and structure of their own little world, building on what was laid out yesterday, inventing the stepping stones that carry the story forward today.

Their voices float across the yard or drift up the stairs or circle around me as they spin from here to there. Sometimes I have to raise mine to referee some argument or distract the littlest from a fragile setup. But there are moments in each day -- stretches sometimes -- when I'm neither needed nor wanted as anything more than an audience. And so I am granted some loud silence. Some filled space. Yes, it's intermittent silence. Volatile space. But still -- space.

And so in this silence, I listen. Even while I'm otherwise engaged, I listen. Resting in -- wrapped up in -- the spontaneously conceived concerto of our unstructured summer.

It's quite lovely.