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  • Here in the old grey chair, looking over the bay, time to be. No rushing here and there; no worry about where to be when the big hand and the little hand serve notice; no inner clock ruling the day. Time opens the gate to mindfulness. At last, time attend to audible summer, to record it in my remembering ear for winter listening.

    There, to my right is the melodic tone of a neighbor's bell. Over and all around me, the oak tree rustles its leaves. I am sheltered in its vast branches, I have an orchestra seat on the great lawn. And at last the loon, I have waited for him. He is paddling silently, just to my starboard side, but offering up that half mad, half triumphant loon laugh.

    Now, from deep in the cove seagulls screech. Perhaps they've just been thrown the aftermath of gutted fish. A splash as the tide, moving in, hits the side of the boat bobbing on its line. Then whistles, all around me birdsong of yellow warblers and coo of grey doves, mousy sparrows peep and bossy crows scold. A small squeak over to my right and I see that Alvin, the neighborly chipmunk that visits the bird feeder every morning seeking stray seeds, is looking up at me, chirping away as though I should know the complaint he's lodging.

    Across the bay, almost too small to see, but not to hear, the lobster boat, motor purring heads back to dock. They do CSAs for fish here...I'll go later to buy my lobster and listen as the lobsterman and I exchange a few words. I love THAT sound, the sound of my grandfather and father and brother, that Maine way of sounding wise and not very bright all at once. It's a ruse. Mainers trick you that way. I wish I could create that Maine sound in my own mouth still, but it's gone, replaced by the cosmopolitan sound of nowhere and everywhere.

    A dog bays. Where's the dog I just heard?

    The breeze picks up and the bell is more urgent. The flag on the pole near the barn comes to life with a slap, slap, slap as it whips in the wind. Then a strange sound, one I can't identify that sounds like the angry rocking of a giant's chair--perhaps a boat against the side of a dock? a house being dissembled? It's a big sound, across on the island. It has a rhythmic quality. A sound mystery...and still my neighbor's bell tolls, constant in an
    ever changing audible landscape...

    with a vow of silence comes the luxury of fine sounds.
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