30 January 2012

Voice Found

28 January 2012, 8:43 PM.  A cool night, but pleasant enough to have the window open just so.  A dog is barking.

What is this they say about finding your voice? How is this done in a world full of clamor, a world that demands clamor?  This is not right. The voice, the voice I can only hear best if others fall away.  No, no, I need to rephrase the assertion.  I can hear my voice when surrounded by the din and clatter of others.  It is  not easy, nor is it ideal.  Ideal, that is, for me.

I cannot speak for others.

I considered this today as I walked along the tracks between a motionless line of rail cars and a steep hillside.  The cars were full of coal that twinkled in the sun like black diamonds.  Leaves like scraps of parchment cartwheeled down the ties as a wind swept down the river valley.  They scraped and skittered, and I reveled in the sound of them.  It was impossible for me to not smile as I witnessed such a lovely moment.

I wasn't talking to myself.  Not out loud.  I didn't want to spoil the whispery quiet there along the river.  Around here it is exceeding difficult to find a place free of noise from man and his machines.  That I managed the trick while following a railroad line is doubly special.  Aside from a faint whine from some device on the last rail car, the only sounds were leaves, wind, water, and the scuff of my shoes on timber and gravel.  These noises punctuated by the faint caw of crows.  Once, I heard the screech of a hawk.  I stopped on the tracks, turning my face skyward to look overhead and in the trees.  I heard the screech again, but could not find the creature that produced it.

The sun felt good on my face.  The sky was beautiful in the early afternoon light.  I wondered, was it azure? Lapis lazuli? Cerulean?  No matter.  It was sufficient that it was blue and that I was fortunate to witness it.

A third screech from the hawk startled me.  A small epiphany, if I may be so bold as to call it.  That screech was some creature's voice.  It had its voice.  And now, so do I.  My voice is the voice of solitude.  I stopped walking.  The conceit of the idea forced a grin and a chuckle.  Me, the voice of solitude?  Is that what I have been pursuing all these years?  The notion had a strong pull even if it seemed a bit...pompous.

I immediately set aside the concerns over pomposity.  After all, no one was there to witness it, and the thought was strictly my own.  So much seemed clearer in that moment of January sunshine.  I could see the core of truth in it.  My voice, the one I have been chasing, manifests so much clearer when I can take myself out of the clamor so often swirling about.  It isn't that I cannot or do not want to listen.  I do. But it finally crystallized in my head that being in solitude upon occasion is good for my voice.

Today, I found my voice there in the cool breeze and leaf-whisper.  It trembles like a newborn foal, struggling upright and shaking as it rises.  I cannot predict what this voice will say.  I need time to practice with it, make it stronger.  But now I understand more about my voice; I will learn to speak clear and true.


  1. So does this mean you will loan your flashlight to someone else?

    1. After hitting it with some Lysol, I hope.

    2. Haha! Well, he might need both hands for that.

  2. Mary Oliver would be proud of you for saving the only voice you could save: Yours. I disagree with her on that "only" thing, but hey.

    Waiting to see what this voice speaks.

  3. Sorry I haven't been around, jaguar man. Hope you are weathering winter ok.

  4. You will find your voice within. It is still there, quiet but strong.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...