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Do You Hear That?

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Do You Hear That?

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THE BOLD (Missing What We’re Missing):

You don’t know what you’re missing.  That’s because you are missing it.  It isn’t until you build your capacity, heal your wounds, develop a new skill or shift your perspective that the missing things are found.  What aren’t you hearing right now?  I don’t know and neither do you.  But if we do the work and permit the change, we can discover the missing things.

The Whisper (A Treatise on Spring Peepers):

In 2007, I developed an alarming symptom.  I began to hear my heartbeat in my right ear.  I went through a battery of tests, a whole summer of hospital and laboratory visits–MRI, MRA, scans, spinal tap.  At the end of that adventure, I was told I had a benign condition, that there was $70 a month medicine I could take but that the symptom would probably not go away.

For ten years, I have had the constant drone of my own heartbeat in my ear.  If you would like a 90-second taste of what that sounds like, you can hear a recording here.  Imagine that.  When the sound around me was sufficient, I didn’t have to listen to it.  However, when I was alone, craving silence, that is what I heard.  Sometimes it was loud.  Sometimes it was faint and almost gentle.  Sometimes I would become aware of it suddenly.  Whatever mechanism my brain used to filter out the data of that whooshing and roaring sound would slip away and I would become fully aware of it.  It was accompanied by a vague pressure.

After 10 years, it had become a part of me and a part of my life.  I stopped thinking about it most of the time.  Occasionally, I would crave the silence I used to know but it was such a distant memory, I could not conjure that soundless sound.

Then, about a month ago, as I was doing my morning meditation, I realized that the sound was gone.  It’s gone.  I don’t know if it was the simple passage of time, or my daily prayer and meditation, or the Alexander Technique instruction that I’ve been taking or any of the other changes that I’ve affected over the last two years.  I’m not sure why it is gone, but I am so grateful.

The early arrival of Spring, however, almost changed my mind.  As I sat in my office with the window open, I became aware of a high-pitched, metallic whine.  It sounded like a malfunctioning high tension power line.  Or perhaps it was reminiscent of the screams of the dead in Dante’s Inferno, though heard at great distance.

When I asked my husband if he heard it, he looked at me like I was crazy.  I steeled myself to hear that there was no sound available to other people.

“That’s the peepers.” He declared.  “They always sound like that.  You know how much I love the Spring peepers.”

We’ve lived in this home for two Springs.  We sit at the top of a wooded hill, folded into the verge of the forest, anchored above Falling Creek.  Falling Creek winds through a flood plain of grasses, downed trees and mud.  Glorious mud.  This mud is home to frogs who announce themselves each spring in a chorus.  Spring peepers.

I thought I had heard them.  There is a chorus that sings sporadically, with throaty chirping that rings in bursts.  That I’ve heard.  When my husband would wax poetic about the Spring peepers, I assumed we were hearing the same thing.  I would wonder why he was talking about them when they weren’t singing at the moment.  That was because the other chorus, the one that sounds like a device used by an intelligence agency to induce paranoia, was singing and I couldn’t hear it.

What else haven’t I heard?

During the battery of tests, the Doctors discovered that I have very good hearing.  However, the masking sound made it impossible to access that hearing clearly.  Now, I’m reveling in hearing.  As I type this, there is a distant siren fading away and I can still hear it.  The wind is rustling the woods outside my window.  There are bird songs.  I can hear my fingers typing on the keyboard.  All those sounds are crisp and distinct and directional.  Before, they would have been jumbled and confused, softened against the drone in my ear.

The peepers are quiet today.  However, when they begin to croon again, I will find a way to appreciate even them.

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