Carol Brennan King
An essay for a class I am taking:
I lean into the room to hear, to find sounds to write about, but all I hear is the sound of air being sucked through a small floor fan then pushed through the room toward the dehumidifier. Ostensibly, they work together to circulate the air to and filter out the excess moisture that would allow allergens to grow in the dark and damp corners of basement level rooms. Together they make this space a safer space, a place where the air I inhale, which nourishes all of my body, is pure, the germs and viruses and allergens filtered from it.
I think about this process busy in the air around me, modest and quiet little machines working as hard as the energy I supply them enables them to, and I feel that I should go say thank you. That feels absurd, to thank a machine, but perhaps I should say thank you to the Maker of all machines on some level. And be grateful that I live in a place where I can order these machines from an online purveyor who would have a replacement at my door tomorrow, should I need one.
I never appreciated before the reality that was it not for this little fan and that humidifier, my allergies would not allow me to work here where my desk sits just beside the sliding glass doors opening onto the back yard. Here I can look out into the greens of grass and trees and the pinks and reds and yellows of flowers until the frost whisks them away. I can watch the birds gather for a choir on my clothesline. Orange and white and yellow butterflies dance and dip in the air over the flower garden, performing for an audience of one. Honeybees ignore me as they invade my flowers for nectar to make the honey they need to survive. Ironically, I think that perhaps I will drink some of this nectar/honey in my tea, honey a neighbor steals from the hard-working honeybees. A sense of guilt dances around my shoulders. Do the bees miss the honey I pour into me tea?
That makes me consider my body, how it feels guilt sometimes before I want to, or before I can. I wonder how many other people suffer from a muscle spasm that did not arise from a strained muscle, but a strained heart or brain. I wonder if the pain arises there when I do not recognize that I have taken more than my body or my brain or my heart can bear. My body finds a way to make me sit down, makes me change my to-do list. I wonder if there is a link between listening to the sounds in a room and the sounds in my body and the anguish that might come from ignoring either one.