Friday, August 22, 2014

Heart Sounds

Awaking gently to the music
of a little stream outside the
window of my parent's guest
room last week, I wondered
drowsily to myself,

Do we dream in sound?

Their dog broke my reverie
and there was no time to
dwell more on this thought
until I was back home, 
emptying suitcases in the 
mud room, reflecting back
upon my trip and the whisper
of the water that greeted
me, each morning.

This time I didn't let the
question float away, but
quickly consulted Google.

My research revealed that
many other folks have pondered
the same thought, especially
as it relates to those who
are hearing-impaired.

One response to my query
suggested that our dreams
consist of memories, so no
actual sight or sound is
produced.  Dreams are merely
the brain's way of utilizing 
recollections in our
unconscious mind.

My week in the Pacific NW
passed so quickly that it 
almost seems like a dream.

Have you noticed that about
vacations?  Some details are
sharp and vivid, but when it's
all over, like a dream, it's a
general impression that tends
to remain, rather than specifics.

As always, I tried to capture
our days in pictures--visual
memories.  But what I realized
while sifting through the images
on my computer, is that the
pictures sparked joyful
audible memories, too.

Heart sounds.

The roar of the Pacific.

The crackle of the fire my son
and I built to roast marshmallows.

My Gigi's voice, which I hadn't
heard in a year.

Laughter around the dinner table.

The shrieks from my little
nieces as we spun like crazy
on the Tilt-A-Whirl.

Birdsong at twilight.

Giggles and splashing.

Brushing my teeth this morning,
I also considered the ability of our
brains to retain acoustic
memories over time.

Like voices.

It's been nearly 14 years since
I spoke with my Mie-Mie for the
last time, and even longer since
I heard Grampa's voice.

Yet their voices are still there.

I hope they always will be.

Heart sounds.

Researchers say that babies listen
and learn in the womb.  Besides the
literal heart sounds from their
mother, they hear her voice and
begin to learn language as early
as 10 weeks before birth.

When they are born, babies will
naturally turn towards their mother's
voice--their first auditory memory.

Heart sounds.

I think every season in nature
has its own heart sounds, too--the
thrum of crickets, the skit-skit-skit
of a sprinkler, the crunch of leaves,
or the scraping of a snow shovel.

Human seasons also have them,
from the excited pitter patter of 
toddler feet to the cautious steps
and accompanying thump of a
cane, and all the heart sounds
that fill the sound track of
our lives in between the two.

But what if you can't hear?

Those who are deaf say that their
senses of smell and touch --
wind on their faces, sand under
their feet, cinnamon in the air or
the embrace of someone special -- 
fill in for auditory memories.

Heart touches.

Dreams are funny things.

Things that can't be fully
grasped or labeled or put
up on a shelf.  They can be
vivid or murky, fleeting and
even haunting.  Dreams help
us to make sense of the riotous,
technicolor, noisy, fantastically
spectacular place that is this

in our very own and totally
unique, way.

What heart sounds/touches
have you collected, 
this season?


all photos Privet & Holly

Friday, August 1, 2014


The names, alone, can
lift my heart like a balloon
riding high in a brilliant
summer sky:

Shasta daisies.
Stargazer Lilies.
Bee Balm.
Purple Coneflowers.
Black-eyed Susans.

And don't even get me 
started on ferns.


All of these flowers,
and many more, are painted
on the canvas that is our
yard.  But there is one plant
this year that truly makes me
smile all the way down to my
tippy toes when I see it.

Not because it is exotic.
Not because it is grand in size.
Not because it takes center stage.

Because it is {and does}
of these things.

It's a simple hosta, wedged
between a row of fancier
Stella D'Oro day lilies and an
ever encroaching yew. 

This year, soon after the hosta
had sent its first leaves through
the soil, a deer boldly made its way
up our driveway and ate it down
to blunt nubs one spring night.

My stomach sank when I
saw it, but being a glass half-
full type of gal who also has a
soft spot for deer, I shrugged it
off as the price of coexisting
with these lovely creatures.

Still, I'd feel a tug of irritation
when I weeded near what was
left of this sad little hosta,
eventually failing to really
even see it anymore.

Until last week.

As I headed into the humid 
embrace of a sunny Saturday
afternoon to pull weeds, the
vision of my stubby hosta
stopped me in my tracks.

It was in full, glorious bloom.

And not just one stalk of flowers.

Oh no, no, no, no.

My sorry, gnawed-up plant was
splendidly attired in twelve
stalks of purple flowers.


Despite it's rough start, with
very few leaves to capture
energy from the sun, the hosta
managed not just to survive,


The hosta reminds me of
people that I know whose
lives were devoured by events
and situations that could easily
have stopped their own blooming.

For some, it happened as kids.
For others, it came later.

Things like poverty, divorce, abuse, 
abandonment, accidents, illness or  
the death of someone close.

Whatever the setbacks, these folks 
didn't allow them to ruin the rest 
of their stories. 

They not only overcame, 
they flourished.

I also know others who, despite
an abundance of blessings in their 
lives, can't overcome the
situation that cut them down.

They've never bloomed.

Viewing the victorious blossoms
of my chomped hosta, I marvel
at its tenacity while questioning
what the secret might be. 

Why do some plants blossom
in the crack of a sidewalk, yet
others shrivel and die?

Why do some animals conquer
terrible abuse and go on to love
and make wonderful pets, while 
others remain mean or skittish?

Why do some people with awful
childhoods prevail and bloom,
while others become sidetracked,
lost, or bitter?

I'm certain that the answer
is contained in the DNA of
that raggedy little plant outside
my window, currently 


in its purple finery.

The flower that blooms
in adversity is the rarest
and most beautiful of all.

-The Walt Disney Company, Mulan

Are you a bloomer?


{Dedicated to Campbell, Betsy, and
other bloomers who continue
to inspire me, daily.}

all images my own