Shallow Pools

I do not hear the buzzing or ringing or pounding in my ears. Instead, I feel them inside me; in my head, in my chest, in my legs, everywhere. They can be loud, but not loud in the traditional aural sense. On the other hand, they can be nearly silent and almost sensually invisible; I sense them, but most people do not…as far as I know. I can only imagine what silence—absolute silence—is like. To experience the complete absence of sound and all its related vibrations must be glorious. I think about that frequently. But I cannot really imagine it, because I do not know what it is like. Noise, real and imagined, is my constant companion. Fortunately, many years of living with it has enabled me to often block much of its intrusive, annoying, irritating character. But that is equivalent to hiding noise beneath layers of different noises. Replacing the sound of piercing screams with the noise of sirens…fire trucks and ambulances and police cars. I make it sound worse than it is. Once you come to grips with it, your periods of aural rage or terror diminish in volume and frequency.

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The first taste of espresso this morning was…how do I best express this?…horrible. Another gulp confirmed the unpleasant surprise. Excessively bitter, somewhat metallic, utterly unlike the pleasing flavor I associate with coffee.  As I sit here, resigned to discarding the remainder of the wretched stuff in my cup, I wonder whether the coffee beans used in the powdery grinds went bad or whether the espresso machine has gone too long without cleaning? Or could it be something else? Perhaps a beetle or spider or other plump bug found its way into the little espresso pod, before it was sealed, where it decomposed and imparted the horrid flavor to what otherwise would be a wonderfully rich and flavorful delight. The nasty taste could be the work of the person(s) responsible for the Tylenol murders in the early 1980s—or copycats who may have gotten a macabre sense of satisfaction from imitating such unspeakable crimes. The origin of my awful experience with my morning espresso could be something entirely innocent; it might even be traceable to a combination of the taste of the toothpaste I used when brushing my teeth last night with the normal flavor of the ground intense dark roast beans used in the espresso. Whatever the source of the unpleasantness, I fervently hope it was a one-time experience. I hope, even more fervently, it was not the result of an obviously psychopathic would-be killer.

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The big television in our so-called TV Room,  not long after the pause button is pressed, displays a slow rotation of beautiful scenery from around the globe. Most of the photos are nature shots, with a few that mix nature and civilization in appealing ways (such as Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).  Those images, collectively, both sooth and create a sense of intense longing—longing to be in those places that appear to guarantee serenity. I imagine a week or a month relaxing on a huge, private country estate in Italy or enjoying the crystal clear waters and warm breezes on a private beach in the Caribbean or sitting by a roaring fire in a remote and very private lodge in the Swiss Alps. And, of course, many more places. All very private, very remote and free of obligations. No expectations imposed on me, other than abandoning all pressures and  shedding my every worry. I do not want to be expected to ski just because I am at a ski lodge, nor urged to hike just because I am in an area known for its pristine hiking trails, nor asked to swim or snorkel or dive just because I am in a place considered ideal for such activities. I simply want to be in such beautiful places; soak in the experience of sights and sounds and sensations of simply existing in those spots. Seclusion, privacy, and the freedom to simply soak-in one’s environment are available almost anywhere. I suppose I could find those luxuries almost anywhere. And I should. But adding the spectacular wonders I see in those television screens might amplify the experiences a thousand-fold.

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Trying to think deeply in shallow pools of thought is a frustrating experience.

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About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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