Almost midnight. Winding down from a full, typical day - a day which would have seemed ordinary just a few weeks ago but which I now experience as precious as I count down the days to departure. I sink into our L-shaped beige couch with cat-scratched edges and pillows. Our dimly lit living room is silent, free from the din of child energy and activity. I am content. I am grateful.
This ordinary precious day began with sweet morning conversation, followed by a crisp bike ride to school. A few necessary errands, then to my favorite coffeeshop which displayed new brilliant artwork on the walls, lifting my spirits while I reunited with an old friend. A sunshiny mudflats beach walk this afternoon with Nala dog and dear Dana filled me with Alaskan wildlife joy and irreplaceable companionship.
Now, hours after a family dinner rich with lively outbursts and exciting storytelling, I revel in the quiet stillness of home. And I hear something. Something familiar and predictable, something I realize I will actually miss. This sound is so, well, so very ordinary that it feels strange, a little embarrassing even, to admit that I am fond of it. It is our 1958 boiler rumbling to life. With an initial clunk and sputtering like an old ford truck starting on a cold morning, a steady hum gradually fills the house, the floor vibrates, water trickles and creaks through the baseboards. Sounds of warmth and security. Sounds of home. Sounds, I realize now, I won't hear for a year or more.
What other sounds of home will I miss? There! That one, the clickclack of the almost-midnight train moving along tracks that border our back yard. It marks time, sending me to bed and waking me each morning. I can identify different trains by their sound - passenger trains cheerfully purr along unassumingly, while full coal trains rumble deeply "I-think-I-can I-think-I-can."
What other sounds?
The slam of our front storm door, whose spring has long ago disappeared.
The quiet shhhhhhhh of the dishwasher.
The clucking popping cawing conversations of ravens atop spruce trees.
The whoosh of ducks overhead, mere feet from the rooftop, coming in to splash land on our pond.
Chickadees and nuthatches twittering and calling, finding mates and building nests.
Dogs barking through the neighborhood, calling each other for playdates.
Children screeching through the yard and streets.
I find myself grinning as I recount these ordinary precious sounds that make up my ordinary precious life. I look forward to new sailing sounds that will fill me up soon. The sounds of home will change. Yet forever remain ordinary and precious.