I stare at the handle of a red screwdriver and use my ears to see the space around me. There are tires scribing the wet street three floors down; the clock ticks each second in counterpoint to the keys on my laptop. Furnace just kicked in like a huge breathing thing acres wide and deep; the cat licks its’ shoulder. I cannot hear walls.
Audio memory kicks in now too, adding the plink…plink! of piano tuning from this morning; the breathless excited scramble-wiggle of dog claws on studio floor; footsteps like signatures in the hallway; doors squeaking open and banging shut – punctuation for arrival. All the voices who spoke here today, each carrying different degrees of anxiety or humour, as we navigate the measured hours before Christmas.
My ears cannot hear the sound of a to do list. They hear only what is, and record what has been, for playback later.
These small moments I get – to explore the shape of the room with my ears, to examine with just my fingertips the shape and texture of my cello, of a book, or a pencil as my blind grandmother did for 50 years – they are possible because I’ve chosen to make gifts, not buy them.
I have also given myself the gift of time.
Happy Christmas and Hannukah everyone.
May the time with yourself and with those you care for be rich with love.