Layers of Listening

IMG_3099As of late, I’ve noticed that there are layers to listening. There are the nearest and loudest sounds and, if you keep tuning your ears, there comes the next layer of sound, that which comes from a greater distance or a more quiet nearby sound.

Toward the end of day once while sitting in the window seat Michael built me, I listened, aimlessly letting my ears attach to whatever was there—birds and cats in the bushes; my neighbor with his too-loud Harley and his friends with their too-loud bikes; the rush hour traffic many blocks from here. And then I heard it, from a distance—I’ve heard Michael’s car. For the first time I heard the familiar engine noise from blocks away. I heard my husband coming home to me. Now I hear it often when I sit in this spot with the echium about to begin its raucous bloom outside the window. My heart always does it’s “Michael’s almost home dance!”

But the last few weeks, this too: I listen for my father’s voice. I can hear him. Within me I can hear his voice clearly. In his last years, my pop got softer, his voice did, and everything else about him. Not only what he said, but how he listened. He began to listen. Funny how it happened after his hearing wasn’t so good anymore but that’s okay, it did happen. He’d tilt his head in my direction. I miss his voice and I miss his listening.

What are you listening for? Can writing or art-making bring it closer? Might you tune your ears to all that’s being said just for you to hear?