Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sounds that Soothe

Sounds that Soothe

February 28, 2010

By Julie Kay Smithson

A recent Facebook posting with a link to "The Ten Most Addictive Sounds" inspired yours truly to compile a baker's dozen list of most soothing sounds. In no particular order, they cover all seasons of the year and one's life.

The peaceful sounds of a campfire when it's past its peak and the embers occasionally fall with the softest of thuds.

The sounds Wiggles Blue Heeler, my canine companion of almost a dozen years, makes when he's sound asleep and dreaming, often accompanied by paws moving in concert with the activities of his dreams. For the first six years, Wiggles enjoyed physical eyesight and the "blue streak" speed of a blue heeler cattle dog as he ran effortlessly in play around the Arabian horses I once had. Progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA, an inherited eyesight robber found in virtually all dog breeds, though it was a blessing to be of the late onset type. Now the only running Wiggles can do, other than short bursts, is in his sleep. He still has the abundant energy and the memories of his days as a horse herder, voiced with jubilant yips in his dreams!

The sound of a pot of coffee brewing.

The sound of a light breeze wafting through leaves.

The heady feeling given by the sound of fields of ripening oats when their full heads wave & gently 'clack' on a breezy day.

The swoosh of a rain-kissed gust front, just before a thunderstorm.

The birdsong-filled air of early morning, which begins in mid-February and builds to a crescendo during nesting season.

The "huff" of snow falling from heavily laden branches, as it reaches the snowpack below.

The sound of joyful clapping when something has stirred the soul of the listener.

The quiet hush of the crowd just before Neil Diamond comes onstage (if you've experienced it, you know that the very air is pregnant with anticipation!).

The still of the night & the serene sound of your own relaxed, deep breathing.

The sound, rare nowadays, of someone whistling or singing while they work. A man who used to work at the London WalMart, made my whole day just by hearing his whistling or singing. I didn't even have to see him; it was enough just knowing that he was there and happy in his work, sharing that positive energy by putting it into happy sound. He was off sick for a few months, during which time I found myself feeling anxious, sorry that I'd been remiss in my intention to tell him how much those sounds meant to me. Then one day Mo was back, thinner and looking tired, and I wasted no time in telling him how special he was to me through the sounds he made. It felt so good to share with him that his whistling and singing reminded me of a short time during my childhood when my father had done both. Humbly delighted, this gentleman lit up like a Christmas tree, his face wreathed in smiles! Even though he's no longer there, sometimes it seems I can almost hear him yet, a joyful sound carried on the winds of memory.

The last sound, now heard only rarely due in part to my departure from truck driving a decade ago, and in part to truck manufacturers designing new, quieter electric horns -- the sound of a truck's air horn borne on the night wind. It is at once a lonely sound and a comforting sound, because the man or woman at the wheel is hauling goods that we need, driving through the night hours to be sure our local stores are stocked and at the ready when we need food or other supplies. It is the sound of a free nation traveling the highways to places we may have never been, or may know only through that "I've been everywhere" sound of the air horn on a Peterbilt or Kenworth.

Sounds that soothe ... you probably have some of your own to recall.

668 words.


  1. Lovely and most are on my list too or close!! Another Neil Diamond fan too-all right! Neil and Gordon Lightfoot are two of my all time faves in the music business! I add wind thru pine trees, way up high; the sound of a small stream running over rocks; waves washing in on the shore (though I am very much not an ocean person otherwise), rain on the roof at night, especially an old tin one!!; a child singing or humming to itself in play, totally absorbed and not at all self-conscious; the scritch of a hand saw cutting the wood that will keep me warm that night; the soft bubble of a pot on the stove as a yummy stew or soup cooks...,; the gentle growl/whine of a 4WD like an o-l-d jeep lumbering about 3mph over a non-existent road miles from anywhere, a horse's eager nicker when it sees you bringing breakfast.
    I will take those in memory at least to my death. And mayabe hear some of them in heaven!!