AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE Two Hundred Eleven: Sacred Sounds

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky, and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman, and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.


Sacred sounds.

It sounds like one of those albums you could order from the television when I was a kid. Maybe a CD with nothing but chanting monks or tribal music.


But that’s not what I’m talking about.

I think we all have those sounds that, when heard, transport us to a place of comfort. Maybe it’s pure nostalgia. That’s possible.
Examples: the ding-ding-ding of an ice cream truck, the theme song of your favorite cartoon or show, the beginning guitar or drum licks of your favorite song on the radio.

I guess those count.

For me, my sacred sounds are different. Maybe yours are similar. Or different. Who knows?

For me, on the top of my list is the sound of a train whistle or horn in the distance. Most of the places I have lived have been a few miles (as the crow flies) away from train tracks, and that sound has followed me all my life.
Here’s a moment in my life that I remember a particular train whistle moment.
We had moved from my childhood home to a place my parents had built in the country. I missed my childhood home, but I really liked being in our new home. We had woods, and I spent a lot of time there. It snowed one afternoon that continued into the night. I was just beginning my writing passion. I typed away on my dad’s typewriter a story I was working on and needed to go clear my head. So I put on some warm clothes and, even though it was dark outside, I went out and breathed in some cold night air. As I stood in shin-deep snow, feeling the snowflakes fall onto my upturned face, I heard an old familiar friend: a train horn. It traveled through the cold air that night over miles to my ears. It was utterly comforting.

The sound of a train horn or whistle is one of my favorite sounds. It’s not that I have a train fetish in any way. The sound on the air makes me smile and long to continue hearing it. I can listen to it on television or in a movie, and no matter what’s going on on the screen, I have to smile, and I’m comforted.

I’d say it’s my favorite sound.

Of course, like many people, the sound of rain is near the top of the list. I love to hear it at night with the sound of thunder included. It helps me sleep like no prescription drug can do.

And the sound of falling snow. The quiet ambient sound as it falls from the heavens to the world below is absolutely fantastic and beautiful and sends bliss straight to my brain.

For over twenty years, I have had to sleep to the sound of a fan. Not just for the breeze (even in the winter) but the white noise that emanates from it. I even got my wife used to it (not the breeze in the winter), and she can’t sleep without one on. Sorry, Mindy.

The sound of a fire in our firepit ranks up there with my best-sacred sounds. The pop and fizz from the wood as its fuel is used and warms us as the weather turns colder. I never was able to sit next to one until we moved into our house.

Did you know that appliances are tuned into different sounding frequencies? Most are give off a G tone. Though different brands and different currents can change the tone. Some of those can resemble the sounds that we naturally produce. I found that the tune that is natural to me is closer to a C. Songs that are based on a C note tend to be the ones I like the most.
The C note is my built-in sacred sound.
Want to know how to find yours? First, there’s an app for that. Well, sort of. You download a tuning app for a guitar or piano and then get it ready to detect a note. Then, clear your head and, without thinking about it, hum. So the first sound you give off is the note your head is tuned to.

But as sacred sounds go, it can be any note, any chord.

Maybe you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned the sound of my daughter’s laughter as a child. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful sound that I still remember. I’ll probably remember it for the rest of my life. But, maybe it’ll be one of the last things I’ll hear as my life fades out and the new one begins.

But these sacred sounds I talk about were there before her. They were there in MY childhood and gave me peace. And they still do. They bring me hope, comfort, and joy. They help me forget the troubles that I bring onto myself, the worries that plague me. The simple sound of that train horn in the distance reminds me that the world is bigger than me. The sound of that falling snow dampens the harsh sounds of traffic and people and helps quiet a troubled heart. The rain does the same, and if suffering from hot weather, it refreshes.

These are my sacred sounds, some brought from nature, some from technology.
And they will always be sacred to me.

– Loyd Elmore Jr
December 31st, 2021

I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else, but it might help me.

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