The rain had stopped, but not the wind. Lying in my tent, I listened to it whip over the ridge and across the lake, bullying everything in its path.

Somewhere in the woods a tree fell. I heard it. It definitely made a sound.


The next day, I leaned back in the ragged deck chair, feeling the sun on my face. With my eyes closed I counted the first five things I could hear.

Water splashing the rocks. Water splashing the docks. A breeze in the trees. Something small and foraging in the underbrush.

It took a long time for a fifth sound to emerge, floating light and bright through the woods: laughter.


Back home, I am accosted by the volume of things. The window air conditioner’s roar makes the bedroom feel like a highway rest stop. The delivery trucks seem gargantuan, and ready to explode. I am reminded just exactly how close the airport is.

This morning, the night cooler and air conditioner mercifully off, I luxuriated in the predawn murmur: a distant soft metallic hum, a few hungry birds, the light tapping of the shade on the frame of my open window.



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