June 2, 2014

Sensory Overload: Sound

For today's post I thought I would revisit a topic that I last wrote about a few years ago (or at least a post that wasn't creative non-fiction about that particular sensory). The impetus for revisiting this particular topic was the type of battery recharging I've been able to accomplish sporadically in the past few months.

I don't know about you, but for the past few months I've been figuratively battered from pillar to post by a lethal combination of family stress, work stress and financial stress. The only way that I've realistically been able to combat this triple thread to my sanity is to take refuge in my surrounding and surrender myself to the sounds of what life has to offer. More often than not, these interludes, whether for a few minutes or a few hours,; have been my saving grace to dealing with a troubled mind.

For those of you who may not know this, I don't use an external alarm clock to wake up. I have an internal alarm clock/snooze button that starts waking me up at 4a every morning (yes, that includes S&S too). Right now, because overnight temps are in the lo 60's/hi 50's, I sleep with the windows open. And because of that propensity for wanting to breath fresh air, I'm usually serenaded by the mountain's fine feathered friends in those early morning hours.

A prelude concerto to start the morning is exactly what the doctor ordered. Usually when I become minimally alert to my surroundings, that delightful little concerto relaxes me to the point when it becomes my external snooze button. When it ends, it usually means it's time for me to get up.

And if the birds don't wake me up, my cat does. She's my other external alarm clock, because if I don't get up exactly one-half hour before I'm supposed to, she will plant herself at the foot of the stairs and meows loud enough to wake up half the household.

Another way that sound relaxes me is when I'm listening to bluegrass.

On Saturday mornings, one of the local college radio stations plays bluegrass from 9a thru 1p. Because a good chunk of suburban Connecticut is semi-rural, listening to bluegrass while driving around allows my mind to wander just a little bit. Between the sounds of acoustic instruments and the greenery that is Cedar Mountain and the valley, there is almost nothing that can get under my skin. I'll soak up the audio and video to the point where my brain is realistically empty.

Finally, we have the sounds of the mountain and the suburban neighborhood.

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions, I live approximately 100 feet from Cedar Mountain, so on most spring, summer and autumn weekends, you will find me sitting in my side yard under the shade of a non producing crab apple tree, listening to the gentle breeze wafting down the mountain and the quiet fugue of the various birds that call both the neighborhood and the mountain home.

The gentle rustling of the leaves combined with the quiet buzz that is the main area of Newington (trust me, I am so insulated from the hustle and bustle of Newington in my neighborhood that everything is really a quite hum) and the never ending pedestrian traffic (because what is a mountain really good for if you can't lose yourself in its warm embrace), really is the thing that quiets and calms the inner turmoil of my life.

And that my friends, is all you can really ask for.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Listening to bluegrass while driving around a rural area sounds like heaven to me.

    We have pigeons here, so my alarm clock is hearing those things coo coo coooo until I finally drag myself out of bed.

  2. I love sleeping with the windows open as well but I am only getting up at 4Am to pee

  3. I'm sorry you are going through a load of stress at the moment. I am too, and it's tough finding some peace and quiet, which I really crave. Obviously I need a mountain too.

  4. ABFtS: That's a funky alarm clock for sure.

    I got into bluegrass way late in life, so this genre and the Americana genre are my definite go-tos for when life ails me.

    Bearman: I pretty much do the same thing as well. :D

    Joe: Thanks. It's been really hard to find that peace & quiet during the week, so I grab it whenever I can.

  5. I wish I had YOUR alarm clock as my internal clock rings at 3 a.m., and when I wake up the dogs get fidgety and all hell breaks loose. Thank God for espresso in the wee hours.

  6. Scarlet: 3a? That is definitely way too early for me. I can feel your pain on that one.

    My problem is that I can never sleep later than 7a on the weekends due to being the family dogsitter, nor can I sleep consecutively 'til 7 because of my cat wanting to be feed at 5a every morning.

  7. My internal alarm clock woke me at 2am this morning and then I couldn't turn my mind off (my real alarm goes off at 4:30a.) I am stressed at work right now, too. Really stressed. But I was outside watering plants just now and heard a bird symphony - lovely and just what I needed to start the day. I love that you sleep and wake up to that.

  8. Lynn: I had that kind of stress for the past month or so, so the morning bird symphony has really been my saving grace. Glad it worked out for you today.


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