Sounds of Home

Don't you wish you'd thought to name your kitten after Chuck Norris?
Don't you wish you'd thought to name your kitten after Chuck Norris? | Source

Sounds of Home


Belmont hears the keys, leash, and collar,

quickly sits at attention.

Ready, we go outside.

He sniffs around, marking his territory,

and I hear a familiar chuff chuff,

a sound you don't expect

from a bird

called humming.


A jingling bell gives away Chuck Norris.

The kitten meets us at the fence,

bats at Belmont's nose.

When they grow bored, we head home.


I know it's home now

because I no longer notice

the loud whir

of helicopters

chasing away the bogeymen

late at night.


NOTES:

I was standing on my porch in Seattle, enjoying the warm weather, when I heard a strange sound coming from the tall evergreen trees in front of me. It sounded like a bird had a stuffy nose, but I felt uncertain whether it was possible for birds to get stuffy noses. I felt bad for this bird; I thought it sounded so miserable. I kept peering through the branches, trying to find the source of this pitiful sound, when suddenly I spotted it. A hummingbird. It looked healthy enough. I realized this must be a sound hummingbirds normally make.

Ever since then, I can't not hear the sound of a hummingbird if there is one nearby. I always stop and listen until I can trace the sound back to its source. It's a special treat to see a hummingbird, one that I get more and more now that I live in southern California. It was that moment of learning to identify a bird by its call that has led me to the resolution that one of my retirement hobbies will be bird-watching. I don't have time to learn all the identifying marks and calls that I want to now, so I'm saving up this goal. This way I'll have interesting things to do when I am in my seventies.

It's interesting how one adapts to sounds. That humming undertone of some people's whistling might have annoyed me once, but since my husband does it, it's become endearing. It's one more sound of home that I hope I never have to stop hearing. I don't get to hear it anymore, but as a child it was always comforting to me to hear the tumble of the dryer as I drifted to sleep. It meant my parents were nearby, being domestic, keeping me secure and in clean clothes. Now my laundry room is in the basement of my apartment building, but hopefully someday we'll own a home of our own, and I'll be the one doing laundry after tucking my kids into bed.

We're all creatures of habit, even, or maybe especially, our pets. Every time we open the cupboard under the sink, Belmont thinks it's time to eat, because that's where we keep his food. I don't like giving him too many false alarms, so sometimes he gets a treat even if I'm just throwing something away in the little trash can that is also under the sink. I think he knows just how to play me.

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