Unraveling the Threads of Sound


Complexity within simplicity. Isn’t this how the Tao gives birth to the ten thousand things?

In the tapestry of sound that washes through my being, so much happens. At 2 a.m., the otherworldly calls of coyotes startle me awake. At once forlorn, menacing, protective, and distressed, they shake the chilled air, sounding just a pebble’s bounce from my sleeping spot, though surely they come from across the iron rope in the scrub nearby, where I have seen their tracks. Uneasiness kneads my stomach as I wonder if I should fear for my four-legged friends who guard the frequencies here. Their calls fold and unfold in the dark, weaving between the dreams that come.

Brushing my teeth late at night, I hear the faint sound of music hovering in the bathhouse air. Country/western, female singer. I can’t quite make out the lyrics. Is a radio playing on the men’s side? On leaving, I circle around the building but hear only the cold air settling. Nothing through the ventilation system or from under the men’s door. Quiet hours are well underway, and the silence is unbroken but for the scuffing of my feet on the path.

Some nights, especially near the full moon, drumming and the singing of many men drift in through open windows. Assuming these are regular gatherings at the lake, I inquire: No, there are no gatherings here and now. Only a few hear these sounds, I am told; they are the sounds that once were made here, near the full moons, traveling over the lake and across moments. The veils are thin in this place.

By day, quail rustle about in the dry brush; a bee hums by with a friendly bob of its wings; electronic chimes sound, dimly, but no messages appear. Tires crunch over gravel, far away. Distant voices come and go.

I am learning to sort the sounds that belong to this time and place from those that do not. The faintest sounds, just barely here, and those that seem close but disappear when searched for, are those that have come untucked from the space that stores them, replaying older days or rehearsing to become part of our world.

Afternoons, I gaze on the lake’s blue glint, then close the eyes, letting it all wash through this vast moment. The sounds that belong and the sounds that are borrowed, those that pierce like an arrow and those that embrace like a singing bowl, those that drip from a gull’s wing and those that thump like an anchor. All moves through this point with no center. All is given permission to exist. All is welcome here and now.





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