Most evenings, after it gets dark, my daughter and I take the two dogs for a walk around the neighbourhood.
I prefer to do it after dark because there are less dog walkers around, which is better for our recently gone blind Sharpei, as she wouldn’t react well to other dogs, considering she can no longer rely on visual signals.
She is calmer at night anyway, there are fewer distractions and my daughter and I prefer it too.
There is just something soothing about walking around after dark, sometimes catching a whiff of someone’s late dinner drifting from an open window, the cozy glow of lights shining out of living rooms, which bring a curiosity of what those people’s lives are like inside those walls.
Are they happy? Are they living out their dreams? Are they in the middle of divorces or custody battles, are they good people, criminals, people you might like to meet, or people to be feared?
Why do they have a sword on the wall?
All these questions.
I once walked past a house and overheard a woman cry, and the way she said it was filled with such deep pain –
“You don’t even touch me anymore!”
I’ve never forgotten it. An intensely personal moment,accidentally overheard.
I wonder what happened to their marriage, and why?
I like to walk in silence and ponder these things, breathe in the still night air, inhale the sweet scent of jasmine, and just generally use these moments as a way to relax and rejuvenate my mind.
You can’t do that with my daughter though, because she never shuts up.
She seems to think that this is the perfect opportunity to dump all of her worries ,stresses, concerns and angst ridden sixteen ear old thoughts on me. (Like the spider vein)
We walk and she talks and I feel the weight of her world funnel in through my ears and land heavily on my heart.
It’s not that I don’t care to be the vessel for her to dump all this….”stuff”, (I’m her mother, it’s my job) but just not THEN.
Not when we should both be living in the moment and just enjoying it for what it is.
I am working hard at trying to teach her this, because its a skill I think we ALL need to work on….letting go of “stuff” and giving ourselves permission to just BE.
To breathe…to appreciate that we are alive, and surrounded BY life, in all its intricate beauty.
To remember that beneath the paved footpaths and tarmac roads, we are standing on a complicated and delicately balanced planet, and we should never forget or take that for granted.
All around us, unnoticed by us there is birth, life and death going on, constantly.
A complex tapestry so finely tuned, so marvelously threaded and WE are part of it, even if we never give this a single thought.
We are IN the tapestry.
Down our street, amidst suburbia, there is a house that is buried in thick bushes, trees and lush shrubbery.
There is an air of mystery to this house just because of its partial hidden-ness. It’s like it wants to keep a secret, all to itself, within the overgrown garden.
But what makes this house really special, in fact I have fallen in love with it, is because as you approach it, all you can hear are frogs creaking and croaking through the stillness of the night.
There is a decline in frogs, and when frogs disappear it is a sign that the balance of the environment has been disturbed, and it’s not a healthy sign.
It’s like a thread in the tapestry gets pulled.
But this house is like a frogs paradise.
There must be ponds hidden beneath the tangle of trees. Has to be.
The sound is almost magical and it transports me to all kinds of wondrous, mystical places in my mind.
Standing there with your eyes closed you could be deep in a beautiful misty forest… Tall tree’s reaching up to the sky, the undergrowth glistening with dew.
You could be lost, in the woods, and find yourself led up a dirt road, to end up in front of a spooky, ramshackle “haunted house”… where the lace curtain from an upstairs window quickly closes, and you just know somebody has been observing you…
You could be alone, sitting next to an emerald pool, deep in the forest, waiting for your lover to arrive… the expectation…the desire…the hunger.
The possibilities are endless, and all because of a sound.
The sound of frogs.
Now you might think me strange, but its little things like this that fill me with a feeling that can only be described as joy.
I’m like a little kid with a free candy bar.
Inside it just makes me jump up and down. It tugs on and stretches my imagination like…well, you saw those mind pictures didn’t you?
It moves me.
Something so simple, and I’m just …moved.
In fact, tonight I just had to take the dogs home and go and get my video camera so I could record the audio.
Just because it’s something I want to “capture”. Like a little treasure….like a pretty shell on the beach, or a smooth polished stone.
I’m such a child, and I know it, but I don’t care.
The things I see, and hear, and feel, I just want to capture them and keep them to look at, or listen to, or turn over in my hand, because they make me feel something.
I know I’m not alone.
At least, I know my daughter is like me, because for once, she shut up, and sat with me on the side of the road outside that house, and I know it was VERY difficult for her, but she closed her mouth, stilled her tongue and “felt the magic” WITH me as my camera recorded the sound.
I can’t think of anyone else that would do that with me, willingly, and enjoy it as I do.
She’s weird, like me and I love her for it.
I don’t know why this particular sound has captured my attention so much.
It just seems odd I guess, that among all the other houses there is just this ONE, that is different.
No other houses have their own garden of frogs.
Maybe also it brings back fond memories of my grandparents house, which had ponds, and frogs…and in the dead of night, in a pitch black room I would lay there and listen to the frogs outside the window.
Everything is so much more magical, when you’re a child.
So as silly or trite as it might sound, I’m sharing this with you anyway.
My inner child moment.
Listen to this… I edited it. It only goes for about a minute.
Close your eyes and let it take you someplace magical. Someplace forgotten.
Or just spend a minute listening to a few noisy frogs.