The Still of the Night

Yesterday, the cold front finally edged its way into my parts, as if it were a reminder that summer has yet to arrive.  Local on the 8's was showing overnight lows in the 40's in the last few moments of gazing at the blue glow from my bed before pressing the power button on the remote, turning over, and calling an end to a long, worrisome day.

As I lie there in the inky black room, face turned toward the slightly opened window, I focused my attention on sound in order to aid in shutting down the hamster wheel in my mind.  It was a bit of a struggle at first; the chill must have silenced the crickets and frogs, and there wasn't even a distant whir of tires on the highway  to tune into.  It seemed as if my little listening game may just have been canceled for the evening, and I'd have to find something else to play.

Suddenly, I noticed a very faint change.  It was an "mmmmmmmmmm" sound.  At first I thought that it might be my cell phone vibrating in the dresser drawer.  Who would be calling at this hour?  After a few moments of waiting, I canceled my guess.  It was still happening -- "mmmmmmmmmm."  Checking off the list in my mind -- the pump motor on the aquarium downstairs; the refrigerator, perhaps.  Nothing seemed to fit.  This was a distinctly odd vibration that seemed to come from far off, with short, evenly spaced breaks in between.   

Finally, it dawned on me.  About two miles to the west as the crow flies is the harbor entrance.  What I was hearing was the sounding of the fog horn.  I imagined that the ships out miles from shore, most likely halted tuning into such sounds years ago thanks to the technology of Loran, radar and GPS.  Nevertheless, the sounding of the fog horn continues for safety reasons, giving warning and sense of direction to those who might find themselves blind and disoriented on such a night as this.  I was thankful for having latched onto it, and allowed my imagination to wander in dark watery places where man has struggled through the ages to safely find his way.  With each distant "mmmmmmmmmmm" I drifted, leaving behind the sea of awareness, and navigating my way into the harbor of nod.

juan1966 juan1966
46-50, M
6 Responses May 29, 2009

When I lived in Chicago and in Detroit, midnight on New Years triggered every yahoo in town to fire their guns off in the air. It was a good time to stay indoors, and keep the kisses and champagne flowing.<br />
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I like Liverpool's traditiona a bit better.

They have a sound that is at once both haunting and comforting. Just like the ghostly roar of freight trains rolling through in the middle of the night, and the loony, squeeky grocery cart wheel song of the robins at first light.

Another very thoughtful story Juan. Thank you. I love how you put the pieces together...first the mystery sound, acknowlegement of what it is...and letting it be with you as you drift off to sleep.

What a great story I have also done this from time to time just stopping and listening to the sounds of life around me......sometimes help me feel more grounded.

Thank you for your kind comment, dreamer. I hope you find something interesting to listen to in your world as you prepare to drift off this evening.

That was a great story. It was well written. I liked it. It seems interesting how the sounds of life can actually tell stories. I never actually payed attention to those sounds before, but after reading your story I realize that I have been missing a lot.