Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Today I found myself in our favorite little breakfast restaurant - listening. The vent over the hood in the kitchen that had the deep and unifying sound of a low D7 chord, providing the background for forks hitting other forks in trays, eggs sizzling on the grill, newspapers rustling, pages being turned with interest or with rage, dishes being hit by spoons, the squeaky door opening every few minutes and slamming shut with the glass singing, the rhythm of deep male voices speaking in Spanish and women laughing in different corners of the room. A knife chopping on a wooden board mixed with the whisking of batter in a glass bowl and then eggs in a metal bowl - such a subtle difference in sound. Suddenly the radio announcer adds to the rhythm and the highs and lows of all I hear. All still united by the low, deep sound of the vent above the stove. Wooden legs being shoved back and forth on the linoleum floor, sometimes hitting metal or wooden legs of tables, the clicking of women's heels, the zipping of a purse, a spoon hitting the coffeecup until the coffee is stirred. It all had a rhythm to it, sounds had beginnings and endings - they had their place and time in the symphony. I hear my heart and I hear my breath. I felt surrounded by the beauty and the harmony of the Universe.
My listening started half way through Daniel J. Wakin's article in the NY Times this morning (Wed, Mar 30, 2007) about Christopher DeLaurenti ( who decided to listen to the sounds of intermissions at concerts and record them. I had always noticed the symphony of sounds in nature, always surprised people were so unaware, but I had never listened in a diner. The school spring concert we went to afterward seemed far less musical.

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