Now I will do nothing but listen. Walt Whitman

As we settle into house sharing, my uber-early rising sister worries about waking me up in the morning when she grinds the beans for her coffee.  No amount of reassuring her it is not a problem seems to assuage her concern.  Hopefully she will relax as we settle in and learn each other’s boundaries and idiosyncrasies.

I quite enjoy the sounds of morning, hearing the house wake up and come to life.  As a young mother, I woke many mornings to the sound of a baby crying.  It was a sweet pleasure knowing I had the ability to scoop them up and quickly comfort them.  Then came that wonderful stage when instead of waking up crying, they woke up cooing and babbling to themselves, just for a young mother’s listening pleasure.

For many years, the sounds of our house were the sounds of children.  Sometimes laughing, sometimes squabbling, and often the lyrical bleating of “Mom?  Mom?  Mom???”. They were the melody of our life.  I could monitor where everyone was in the house or yard by the sounds I could hear. As our sons became more independent, I would listen for the click of the back gate letting me know they were home from school or back from band or soccer practice.  After they were driving, I could never sleep at night until I heard the door close and their footsteps  headed up the stairs to bed.


Along with the family sounds, our old Victorian house was full of ancient and familiar noises that kept me company.  Radiators pinged and floors squeaked along with other assorted thumps, bangs and knocks.  I realize all those sounds had a reasonable, scientific explanation, but I preferred to believe they were just keeping me company as I went through my day.  

We lived kitty corner from a church and its bells along with the whistling of the local trains that ran through town became a part of our daily soundtrack.  On Sunday mornings, classical music playing throughout the house called our sons to breakfast (along with the smell of bacon).  Many a glorious summer evening, music poured through our open windows while we sat on the back porch sharing conversation and catching up on neighborhood and school events with our sons.  

After years of parenting sons and caring for an old house, Mr. Smith and I made the move East and were able to spend over a decade just enjoying being a couple.  We quickly adjusted to apartment living and being able to call the landlord with any problems.  Apartment living does come with its own brand of noises, including the 7:00 a.m. trash pickup below my 10th floor window!

Now our nest is less empty.  So far in our new home I have woken up to the sound of birds chirping to one another, to rain on the roof, and to my own thoughts refusing to be ignored.  Not once to the sound of the coffee grinder, but I’ll be listening.

C’est la vie.

4 thoughts on “Now I will do nothing but listen. Walt Whitman

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