spent a few days with my family in ohio for thanksgiving and was particularly aware of the sounds of being home this time around. recognized familiar pops and cracks - sounds that don't seem to come from anywhere specific but are somehow still emitted from the walls and floors of the house i grew up in. sounds that just last week were exactly the same - as mysterious and benevolent, almost comforting - as they were twenty years ago when i heard them all year round.
[the hum of the heating system, the miniature roar of an avalanche as snow slides off the skylight above the staircase, the creak of the pantry door as i go searching for midnight snacks. (chips ahoy - but of course. and something akin to pringles - same shape but more of a potato-chippy food stuff.)]
it's a big, sprawling house, easy to lose people in so there's often someone yelling for someone else from another room. add a portable phone to the equation and you've got simultaneous yelps of 'where's the phone?' and 'you had it last' every time the thing rings. add a five year old nephew to the equation and you've also got 'auntie julie, when are you gonna show me how to play ping pong?' every five or so minutes, much to my extreme delight. and i couldn't have been happier to wake up each morning and immediately recognize the sound of the TV steeping upward through the floorboards from downstairs (the weather channel...but of course)
also just as i remembered them: sounds of the dogs chasing each other around the living room - bounding on and off the couches. the crash of the five ft. high gate meant to keep the dogs downstairs, shaking between its hinges as the cats sc.ale it, madly scrambling to safety from their canine housemates. the particular flick of lights turning on and off and the unmistakable rattle and spillage of the water bowl, as it goes skittering across the tile floor, accidentally kicked for the third time that day.
next year this house will probably be sold, so i was grateful to get an earful while i was there. in the meantime, i'm becoming accustomed to the sounds of my own place, here in chicago - the whine of the water coming out of the showerhead just when the temperature gets hot enough, the regular and impatient honking outside my window, my neighbor vaccuming overhead every sunday. the sounds, i suppose, of home sweet home...