Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sounds in The Neighborhood

I've been having trouble falling asleep again.  This past week, I've been awake at two, three, and even later in the morning.  I've noticed that once the rest of the city has grown still, and the air is quiet, I'll faintly hear trains in the distance (which is unexpected, because I live on the northeast side of Tower Grove Park and to my knowledge, there are no train tracks near my home; the closest set of tracks I can think of are miles away near the junction of IS 64 and Grand).  Sometimes I hear high train whistles, but more often I simply hear the smooth, white noise of the cars rumbling along the tracks, which is a sublime comfort to me.  This is because the sound of trains reminds me of my first place in Maplewood, away from my elephantine, Irish Catholic family.  I assume that living this close to the tracks would disturb some, but I've always found the familiar and predictable noise very subduing.  Also, the trains passing served as something of a marker of time.  When I was madly studying for classes and too busy to notice the time on the clock, the moving trains on their regular schedule would signal the exact time of day.  Perhaps, too, being the oldest of five and used to living with others, the trains were like my newly found companions.  Maybe that is why I was so glad to discover that I could hear them in the wee hours of the night at my new place, alone again for the first time since living in Maplewood.

As the crow flies, I live about a block away from a Catholic church (a function of living on STL's south side).  This fact barely registered in my mind until of late when the local church purchased some electronic bells (I imagine they couldn't afford to maintain physical bells in their tower or find anyone with the expertise to ring them). For the first month or so, they simply played a stripped-down ringing on the hour and a more melodic call to mass.  I've noted that they've recently begun playing Amazing Grace before services (perhaps a seasonal thing to mark the coming of the Christmas?), which sounds oddly robotic and divorced of emotion.  Although I've lived in at least five different residences in the past decade, almost every one has been located within a block radius of a church.  I've grown accustomed to the church bells.  It is nice to be reminded that I still live near some, strange electronic resonance and all.

A sound that will be absent from our neighborhood for the near future is that of Little Miss Calico, as she is currently residing in my home.  I've offered to keep her until we can get an appointment to have her spayed.  I thought it would be best if she was acclimated to my home prior to her surgery since I didn't want her to be recovering in a completely unfamiliar place; she joined me earlier this evening and seems to have made herself right at home.  Currently, she is sitting next to me on my couch and just attempted to contribute to this blog by walking across my keyboard.  Thus far, she has been graceful and hasn't caused much more damage than knocking my violet off the windowsill.  Unlike my cats who live with Kenny, she looked dismayed when she realized what she had done.  She stood just behind me and cautiously watched me pick up the lost soil and broken leaves with considerable interest.  When I moved to throw the leaves away, she raised her head and caught my eye, as if to ask, "Are you angry with me?  I didn't mean to cause you any trouble."  I gave her a little pat on her back and assured her there were no hard feelings.  My kitties would have just lazily walked away, like, "Well, you've ruined all our fun--we'll find something else to destroy while you're involving yourself with that mess!"  Hopefully, all will go smoothly with our new living arrangements.  If so, I might just keep her.  My next door neighbor thinks that my downstairs neighbors probably wouldn't have any objections to that proposal.  I'll keep you all posted.

Om shanti.