Even when all is quiet, nothing is really quiet. Right now, Lee is working at his computer and I’m playing on mine, and the TV is not on, the radio is not on, and the dog is sleeping. This is a rare moment. At first, it seems quiet. But there is always noise. The computer computing. The heater heating. The refrigerator refrigerating.
But it’s nice. I like sound. There is an owl (or maybe more than just one) that lives near my house. Every time it hoots, I think about my grandparents and the farm they used to have in Cordele. That’s where I used to always hear hooting owls. It never fails – if I’m in the backyard, busy doing whatever I might be doing, I’ll hear the owl and immediately I see the farm. A sea of watermelons. The dust in the air from the dirt roads. The dogs and the pecan trees and the little house and wonderful people in the middle of it all.
I’ve also noticed recently you can hear a train go by sometimes. When I hear it, it makes me think of Fitzgerald. The town is so small you can hear the train from practically anywhere. I think it’s neat how certain senses can transport you so fully. Or at least that’s what they do to me.
I remember on one family vacation to Destin, Florida, I stood on the balcony of the condo we were renting admiring the palm trees and the sand and the salty air. My dad was with me, and I said I wished I could bottle the moment and keep it for a bad day at work – then uncork it and be right back there if only for a minute or two. He told me that’s why we have memories. Sometimes, if I’m somewhere special, I’ll try to be still for a minute or two and soak up a really good memory. And sometimes, it works.