DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? (Do you smell what I smell?) Elizabeth Willis Barrett September 22, 2010
There are certain sounds that I love. One of my favorites is the little pop that comes when a bottle of peaches seals and you know you can keep it in the pantry for a few years. That is such a great sound. It means industry and self-sufficiency and a job well done. After pulling the jar out of the boiling water bath, you anxiously wait to hear that sound. I haven’t heard it for an awfully long time since other things have fought their way to the forefront and left bottling peaches in the far, far distance. But there are other sounds to find joy in.
One of the best is a baby’s belly laugh. That sound can pull you from the depths of melancholy and onto the plains of delight. No despair can linger within the sound of a happy baby.
Rain tap-tapping on a metal roof brings me pleasure, too. Not that there are many metal roofs around, of course. I wish there were more metal roofs and more rain drops to fall on them but Central Arizona isn’t the best place for experiencing either one. A rustic cabin in the woods would be perfect, though. Sitting around a table playing Liverpool Rummy with my girls and listening to the rain—ahhh, that would be heaven.
A cooing dove is another great sound. It reminds me of summer and being temporarily released from Emerson Elementary School. I can imagine listening to the doves while standing outside by the evaporative cooler and feeling the tepid water from its hose drizzle onto my feet. True freedom!
I like the sound of a key turning in a lock, signifying the return of a loved one and the beep of a text message that connects me to family and friends.
And silence—silence is a wonderful sound, too. I wouldn’t want to hear it all the time, but once in a while it’s very welcomed.
There are also some not so good sounds that I would rather not hear, such as an impatient mother berating her child at the grocery store or an ignorant couple talking too loudly at Wal-Mart. Bad news never has a good ring to it, of course, and neither does the buzz of a mosquito. And I’m not very fond of the sound of: “We’re sorry. It is not necessary to dial a one when calling this number.”
One of the most irritating sounds to me is someone chomping and smacking whatever happens to be in their mouth. It is especially annoying when it occurs behind me for some reason. When someone is eating loudly, I have to move. When I was little, my younger brother and sister loved to come up and smack their peanut butter sandwiches in my ear because they liked to see me get really perturbed. I don’t even like to hear myself eat!
The magnificent sense of smell brings the good and bad, too. For instance, I detest the smell of dogs. They all smell quite the same, I think. Even though my dear husband, Brad, gets his St. Bernard groomed and perfumed to please me, underneath good ol’ Buddy still smells like a dog. A wet dog smell is especially displeasing. Cats, birds, cows, horses—the animal world would have a hard time getting me to ever be fond of its smell. Sometimes people are in that category. B O is an especially bad animal smell as is stale tobacco breath. H O (house odor) is offensive, too. Thank goodness for Fry’s aisle of candles, oils, sprays and air fresheners.
If I were to choose the very best smell ever, it would be the smell of raspberries. That smell takes me back to my summers in Rexburg as I’d come through Aunt Blanche’s back door. There the smell of freshly picked raspberries would linger. I wish I could go there right now with Mom and her sisters chatting away while shelling peas on the porch and with all the cousins riding the carousel in the park. Not too far away would be the grand smell of West Yellowstone—that smoky fire smell mingled with pines. I love that smell.
Another favorite smell is Dove soap. Sometimes I buy it just so I can close my eyes and take a slow prolonged whiff and imagine that I’m at Aunt Ruth’s house with all her kids. They always used Dove soap. Smells can really conjure up great memories.
It’s hard to beat the glorious smell of bread baking in a family kitchen. Even though Mom worked as a secretary at the Arizona State Senate, she somehow found time to bake bread. That is definitely a smell of love.
And back to the rain. Not only does it sound superb, but it smells delightful, too, especially in the forest.
So, thanks nose. Thanks ears. You’ve served me well. I plan on you seeing me through to the end of my journey. I hope you’re OK with that. You make life so much better.