You know how when the power goes out you notice the silence more than anything else? The silence overwhelms the space. The house somehow seems louder without the hum of the refrigerator. My home has some rather unique sounds. Some noises you notice more when you are caught in the tension of a Stephen King novel than you do at other times. As I was sitting on my couch reading Dolores Claiborne I was thinking about those noises that can become so familiar and get lost in the background of our lives. Kind of like people talking about the end of the world, and how it all is just blahblahblah at this point. Background noise.
My computer is nearly always turned on when I am at home. Elizabeth's computer is always turned on. I believe this is the same in nearly every home in America. I rarely sit at my computer for more than ten minutes at a time, unless I am deep in a project, but I return to it frequently throughout the day. The low hum of it is steady, though.
My big fish tank in my living room has its own noises. The bubbling of water of course, but that happens in most of my home due to all of my tanks. One can also frequently hear the tat-tat-tat noise of my fish redecorating. My Oscar fish, who measures about ten inches long, is very particular about his home environment. Behind his big blue castle he digs out all the rocks and spits them off to the side. I smile every time I hear them tapping against the glass of the tank.
My upstairs neighbor vacuums obsessively. Normally noise from neighbors drives me nuts, however I've grown accustomed to her vacuum and most of the time it is just the comforting background noise of my home.
My chinchilla has nightmares. Often. Chinchillas are nocturnal so maybe she has daymares? Whichever. In the middle of the day with her eyes squeezed shut she starts to grunt. If I have company their eyes will often open wide as they try to figure out what that odd noise is coming from my office. I go in and pet her a little on her head, tell her she's safe, and she goes back to sleep, but it's so familiar to me I don't think about it unless I have company.
I know, I'm crazy about my animals. Particularly my fish and my chinchilla. I bet I have readers rolling their eyes thinking "oh gods, she's talking about her damn fish again." I hear you. I can't help it. Some people have kids, some people have politics, some people have obsessions with the Zombie Apocalypse. I have a chinchilla and fish.
And frankly I'm so sick of hearing about the end of the world that I wanted to post something completely off-topic and flippant. How did I do?
Zen masters teach you to sit and just listen. To yourself, to your environment. Spending so much of my time with a child who doesn't have the use of his eyes has made me even more aware of the noises around me. So much of our lives become background noise and sometimes I think it's worth taking a minute to pay attention to it. To just listen to our surroundings and know our world.
Unless, of course, the world is gonna end in two days. Then I wouldn't suggest wasting your time.