Tag Archives: noise

Hurry up and wait.

I woke this morning with a kink in my neck, and it never really went away, in spiIMG_0564 orange flowerte of many treatments including a thorough and deep massage by my friend who is staying here. When you are in pain, the hours pass slowly. I was lying on my bed a lot or taking walks, and thinking. I know I shouldn’t be typing at a computer, but — I am. While I was resting I read a line about Virginia Woolf, that she wrote in her diary every night, because she didn’t feel that anything had really happened unless she wrote it down.

In the morning I did my usual route on the bike path, following the advice of my chiropractor long ago who said that when you are walking “every step is like a spinal adjustment,” and as therapeutic. And I thought more about Metropolitan Anthony’s words I quoted recently about how to have an intense life.

I took pictures with my cell phone, even though the sun was a little too bright. I walked up the next street over, behind our house, the street where the people live who sing Chinese karaoke for the neighborhood, and who ran their leaf blower at 7:00 a.m. last Saturday. I wanted to write down their house number in case there is a next time with the leaf blower.IMG_0366 trees from CC

And I took this picture of the tree line. That Dr. Suess Tree is the redwood that dropped needles in our pool when we had a pool. My pine tree is the next one to its right. The other trees are in other yards in the neighborhood. I’m glad I don’t live in a new development where all the trees are young and short.

But living in a neighborhood of any sort requires patience. I have had yappy dogs next door for years, and I didn’t get too bothered by them until Mr. Glad died, and then I became irritable. My priest confessor warned me that this would happen, but when I lost my patience with the dogs who yipped and yapped nonstop every time I went into my yard, I didn’t repent. I started thinking about how some people have poisoned dogs, and I understood.

Then when I was standing in church on the Feast of the Transfiguration, the realization came to me that my attitude toward the dogs was the real problem. St. Herman or St. Seraphim would have made friends with the dogs, even through the fence, while I had not even thought of praying for them, who were after all only doing what is natural for dogs. My own angry thoughts were making a racket in my soul that was much nIMG_0553 berriesoisier than any dumb creature’s barking.

For a week I did pray for them, and for their owner; I knew she didn’t know what to do about their incessant outcry either. Then for three days while great tumult was happening in my yard, the poor pups probably didn’t know what to think, and if they were barking no one would have been able to hear it. After that, they were gone. Yes, their owner and they have moved to another town.

Having patience can be an intense activity. I think there must be a connection to the scripture, “Strive to enter into that rest.” When Met. Anthony tells us to “make haste,” I trust this is what he is talking about. I’m not too sure that his exhortation is for me right now, because any kind of hurrying or striving sounds like what I am trying to get away from.

He has said many other things about time and managing it to God’s glory, and I will be musing over more of his words here soon. For this evening, when I walked again at dusk, I was more restful about accepting the intensity, the struggle that has been given me. I don’t see any way to avoid it, if I wanted to.

IMG_0364 s.f. a.m.

I also have to accept the necessity of waiting. As many people have pointed out, there are lessons and pictures of my wider life, in this suburban back yard and town. On my evening walk the light was just right for photography, so most of these pictures were taken then.

Only yesterday I was complaining about my inferior tall sunflowers, but today my shorter variety is blooming, and looking cute. I just had to wait a little longer for it.

Everyone lies naked on a bed of nettles.

I ran across this article, part of a series on education by Anthony Esolen. In the course of describing how the modern world wars against our children’s souls in ways our ancestors didn’t experience, he touches on the topics of play, and why we don’t want to be stimulated, and silence.

I think of the Lord speaking to us, in His silence that communicates so much: “Be still, and know that I am God.” And that is how I know that these issues are crucial. Some excerpts:

It is noise, rather, that is the absence, both of the significant word and of the fullness of being that silence allows us to hear.

…how petty and dreary a thing it is to be stimulated. The stimulus is the prick or spur you dig into the side of an animal. Imagine the horse, slow moving creature when he is content, with his large sad eyes. If we are to make use of him, we must apply the spur.

It is essentially a pornographic world, where everyone lies naked on a bed of nettles, and every new thing is dead before it is born.

Silence is so great a blessing to us because we cannot use it. All things truly creative, which partake of the spirit of play, send their roots deep down into silence.

Read the whole article, Life Under Compulsion: Noise.

Heathenish Noise

Why does that adjective heathenish come to mind? Maybe because peace and quiet are hard to come by anymore, and seem to require diligence and mindfulness. The current practice of designing alarms into every machine makes no provision for our need for refuge from the noisy world that is often right outside the door. They are uncivilized in that way.

My house is starting to resemble a hospital emergency room, with all the many and varied BEEPs signifying matters that need to be attended to. As in the ER, the matters are not usually life-threatening, and the messages might just be that things are working as they should. The oven beeps to let me know it has reached the desired temperature. My car beeps to tell me it is locked.

My new refrigerator beeps if I leave the door open longer than one minute. This is less of a problem now that it’s been moved into the kitchen where it belongs, but it was a constant annoyance during remodeling when I would go out to the garage to get some cold item and find that by the time I arrived, I’d have forgotten what I wanted, and stand staring into territory that was also unfamiliar. Or I was trying to figure out whether moving a shelf would improve the organization, but the psychic tension of waiting for the beeping to start was almost worse than the beep itself, and would make it hard to think calmly.

My old appliances did beep once to tell me when the timer expired, or when the microwave turned off. The new ones never stop the infernal beeping until I do something about it, like open the microwave or press a button on the stove. And all this for my convenience, I’m sure. Though I would rather risk my mug of tea getting cold in the microwave than have one more seemingly gentle alarm. All these many small beeps are like a constant and aggravating sound of dripping, or like the raven quoting “Nevermore,” that threaten to take my sanity from me.

This morning as B. and I were standing in the kitchen, I heard a beep so faint I thought it must not be in the same room. Perhaps it was from a neighbor’s house…but when I stuck my head out the back door, there was quiet. I walked toward the garage, and it got louder. Oh, no! The washing machine had stalled and was flashing a new error message along with a frequent beep, just minutes after I’d canceled the Sears repair request because the other error message was in remission.

I was getting ready to have a friend for lunch for her birthday, even though the house is still in great disorder, but all morning I dealt with the washer. Decided to call a different repair person, because I had had enough of the impersonal (and also heathenish) Sears telephone system. Then I had to be sure I kept the washer malfunctioning so that the repairman wouldn’t come for nothing. That took so much time I had to drastically alter the menu. Also, I don’t know what box my baking pans are in, so I realized I can’t make banana bread yet! I don’t know where the citrus juicer is, so bottled lime juice instead of fresh lemon juice went into the kale chips.

I was getting items from the fridge to start lunch when the microwave beeped, because I’d put my tea in there to reheat after it was forgotten in the flurry over the washer. So I went to take it out, but I must not have shut the fridge, and that started beeping. Shut that door…o.k….Now go out and check on the washer, to see if it will start now that it’s cooled a bit. No, it won’t start–but the beeper is working great.

When I came back in the kitchen there was, I hate to say it, a new and different beep happening. God, help me! This one was very fast and furious. Was it the refrigerator telling me that it’s too hot, perhaps? No….How about the stove? Is something burning, or shorting? This beep sounds so urgent. But it seems to be between the fridge and the stove…..in the drawer.  Oh. It is a comparatively old-fashioned electronic timer that must have been accidentally bumped when I shut the drawer. Simple to turn off.

I wonder if anyone has done a study on how this uncivilized beeping affects the health of humans? For myself, it seems certain it would make me sicker if I had to be in the ER hearing all those sounds. Can’t we have ring tones, say, of Pachelbel’s Canon, or a few notes of other good-mood music?

Perhaps the situation has generated a new kind of business opportunity; if I look in the phone book maybe I can find a listing for someone who will disconnect all the beeps that are getting on my nerves. The old-fashioned people noises we heard camping last week in Yosemite–I didn’t appreciate them enough.