Do you hear what I hear?

Our two dogs are of varying intelligence and thus responsiveness to our commands. One “off” moves the smart gal from my lap, while the oh-so-lovable-but-slow canine continues to warm my thighs until dumped to the ground.

Their barking has become annoying:  yapYAPyapYAP until the source of  inspiration either disappears from view (other dogs out for a walk, meandering cat, saucy squirrel) or has been thoroughly sniffed (friends who come to the door). Our lovely neighbors, cyclists who pedal up and down the Virginia mountains for dozens of miles, suggested using their “dazzer” to control the barking.

The Dazzer emits an unpleasant sound, audible only in the doggie range. One zap and the smart dog understood and now ceases barking promptly when told, “no bark.” The other dog continues to bark despite the command — and will do so until the Dazzer is used. Which of course is unfair to the dog that was already quiet.

And, as it turns out, also a bit unfair to my younger son, whose youthful ears register the Dazzer. “Don’t you hear that little squeak when you press the button, mom?”

No, I do not. I barely hear Engineer Hubby when he asks me to pass the cream for the coffee. I know I’m not hearing the whining about soup and sandwiches for dinner again, right?

imagesSo yet again I discover the very real limits of my (aging) human senses, and, all kidding aside, am momentarily quieted. I wasn’t in awe of the 13 y.o.’s hearing, but it was in the neighborhood (see I know nothing for a dog-taught lesson in humility). I was awe-struck last Sunday when, twenty yards into the woods, both dogs sniffed snuffled snorted snurkled the leaves — speckled with bird poop, huh, look at that, my dull human brain noted — and then both mutts looked straight up and above us turkey vultures were circling, settling on branches, all with their wide, whispery wings. I know they’re carrion feeders and their heads are weirdly bald-looking but still: they are awe-some.

Then I read about the the concept of rewilding — as articulated by George Monbiot in this interview in the fine magazine Orion. He notes that humans are perhaps the most domesticated of all animals, living out our days in relative comfort despite having been designed to survive in a world bloody in fang and claw. We do not often experience the heart-stopping awe that is ours when we wade into the world sans civilized expectations and protections.

I don’t disagree, and/but I when I pause to look at my now-almost-six-foot son, who started as a mere eight pounds; when I see my Grandfather’s wild hair atop my younger son’s head; when I notice EH’s eyes look like his father’s, then I am momentarily awed.

These small details are invisible in the scope of things (the new Cosmos illustrated this for me: I had no idea we (think) we know as much as we do about the universe. The Local Group?) We are, relatively speaking, so very very very tiny. Eensy-weensy. How awe-some is that?

As I near fifty years old* (fifty years! A microscopic pinhead of days in the universe!), I find it easier to remind myself to switch from the daily-annoyances-perspective to the holy-cow-isn’t-this-amazing-perspective, especially when the dogs are pointing out the limits of my nervous system or the scientists my lack of knowledge. (Full disclosure: my family will disagree that I *ever* switch out of annoyed mode, as I nag them nigh unto death about putting away dishes, clothes, shoes, homework, etcetera.)

NASA photo

NASA photo

But what a wonder! What a happenstance to be alive in this time (whenever it may be), in this place (wherever it may be), with this consciousness (however it may be limited by no-dog-nose capacities).

All I can do is write it down. Badly, baldly, awe-struck-ed-ly, make-up-words-ily. What a ride. Buckle up and look to the heavens and tell us what you see.

* This post dovetails nicely with WordPress’s weekly writing challenge, about “The Golden Years” at their site, The Daily Post

36 responses to “Do you hear what I hear?

  1. Pingback: Weekly writing challenge, the Golden years : It’s all Gold, a 95 word story | Challenged for Words

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  6. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge – Golden Years | Joe's Musings

  7. There is a voice I wish I would have heard. It would have warned me of sticking my foot in my mouth like a dumb member of the herd. It would have alerted me to not spend my money like a fool, I really did not need that table or that stool. It would have told me not to make that joke which made people stare at me like I was insane, that prompted others to avoid me like wolfbane. Boy do I wish I listened closer.

  8. Reblogged this on storieswrittenfromheart and commented:
    source of inspiration

  9. Reblogged this on pattytmitchell and commented:
    I was drawn to this post because of the picture- I love astronomy despite my lack of knowledge – and for some reason these pictures seem like ‘home’ to me. But as I read on and realized that turning 50 is entering old age (what??!) I found more in common with the author. A nice read and something to think about when we feel like the world only turns for us

  10. Reblogged this on sudarsius.

  11. This is an amazing insight into the ordinary, mundane things of live…certainly would throw up a lot to thing about….my email is vonney1958@hotmail.com we can touch base…thanks.yvonne

  12. To be born is to live everyday and feel thankful that we were given a chance to play within the sandbox of time.

  13. Inspiring…Lost in Thoughts

  14. I was so moved by insights and reflections. Boy, do I relate. Thanks.

  15. Reblogged this on bocawellbeing and commented:
    Having an awareness of our limitations in an infinite universe is mind boggling!

  16. enlevementepave60

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  17. Very familiar journey….Will follow your blog.

  18. Reblogged this on pniyo and commented:
    Read!

  19. Wow, I’ll think about this all day.

  20. Can the slow-witted dog still hear??

    50 years is quite a ride and who’d have believed we could make it thus far?? We should be jumping up/down and yelling at the top of our lungs, “We made it; We made it!”

    • T-hee, yes, the slower-witted dog still hears. Especially the treats jar 🙂 I agree re: jumping up and down and yelling “we made it!”

  21. Exactly. When we look up in the sky and see so much there our difficult problems in life seem so minuscule. I like your post. Especially the dogs part. And the stars part.

  22. Pingback: Make them Linger | itsmayurremember

  23. Aside from the fondness of the picturesque photo of the unknown beyond, I was struck by the title — only to find something I like dearly than Orion, M42, etc and stargazing!

    You must be kidding! From the vast universe, then to a dog’s melodious music? I’m definitely a dog lover, but yeah, I’m just curious of what you’ve heard.

    After all, loquacious though I be, I’m often longing for solitary places, and yeah deafening solitude. I gotta SULK! haha!

  24. Reblogged this on Curly Bookworm and commented:
    Aside from the fondness of the picturesque photo of the unknown beyond, I was struck by the title — only to find something I like dearly than Orion, M42, etc and stargazing!

    You must be kidding! From the vast universe, then to a dog’s melodious music? I’m definitely a dog lover, but yeah, I’m just curious of what you’ve heard.

    After all, loquacious though I be, I’m often longing for solitary places, and yeah deafening solitude. I gotta SULK! haha!

  25. very great post… Thanks

  26. Pingback: The Elders of Us | Wired With Words

  27. I really really liked your post! We are only a speck in this humongous universe and space that we live in. Thanks be to God!

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