Life is an art, the art that has the magnificent capacity to preserve itself. The challenge is to discover the beauty of that how of those aesthetic principles set apart unperceived that lay the foundation of preservation. Perhaps, such canons reside in the mundane sounds of a household: the sine qua non of stories that can tell about the extraordinary endurance of life. When others were around, each sound's distinctive style would tell me the identity of the person. I assume the commotion in our hearts become attentive to those audible vibrations when a home goes quiet. It depends on one's perspective, of course. They say it can be bitter sweet. An acquaintance once said she hated the clink of the spoon her husband made while making tea for her every morning; to a point that she had to divorce him. Indeed, a pragmatic approach to an annoying sound? Perhaps. So much for love's unique expression!
Years ago, when my son grew up and left home to explore the wonders of the world, we inherited his pet cat. She loved to occupy the space upstairs. I was intrigued by her sagacity. Every time cars pulled in into our garage she knew who it was by its sound, and she moderated her behavior accordingly. If it was a visitor her ears twitched for few seconds, then she would lose interest, and continue on with her nap. When my spouse walked in, she ambled on to sit by the banister to receive an occasional rub on her head as he came upstairs. When I pulled in she ran downstairs and waited by the door to greet me with a gratifying meow, then followed me around for many long minutes till I could settle down with a cup of tea. It was then her turn to jump up on my lap and snuggle in my arms with happy purring. She certainly was a maestro who composed the perfect purr of unconditional love which makes a household extend in time.
For now, pause and listen. Hear that familiar knock on the door, those quiet footsteps, the sound of folding clothes, the swish of turning the crisp newspaper pages? I bet you will be able to tell who it is without gracing the space. Yes, these few sounds, and more, of daily life are the parable of every shongshar. All these sounds are an ensemble of countless homes. In each reside a great number of stories. Stories to be understood, heard, felt, appreciated, and owned!
Ainon N writes from Chicago.