Friday, April 21, 2006

Sounds in the water 

Years ago I got very sick and lost my voice. It was sublime. I couldn't even make a mousey squeak. At first it was upsetting, then I learned to accept it and then finally I actually began to enjoy it. For a solid two weeks I couldn't make a sound but even into the third week it was still a challenge to speak so I chose not to. I used a note pad to communicate or I just pointed at things I wanted. I would go to the grocery store and the clerk would ask how I was and I would nod and smile or do a thumbs up. "Paper or plastic?" and I would point. I began to listen differently. I spent many hours in coffee shops listening to conversations and it all began to sound trite. My perception of how we relate to one another shifted simply because I lost that mechanism which most of us share and which I took for granted. It was as if I was holding my breath in a swimming pool listening. Listening.

I was sad when my voice returned but I haven't forgotten the lesson of that experience. It was a serene Zen-like place that I miss. At least one day out of the month I think I'll make the world a swimming pool, hold my breath and listen.

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