How does a memory sound?
My memories sound like ocean waves breaking against the sand,
Christmas songs sang out of tune,
Hail Marys and Our Fathers whispered at night.
My memories sound like my father saying goodnight
Or the last time we said goodbye.
They sound like my mother’s voice calling us to the table,
Teaching us to be kind.
My grandfather doubting men ever walked on the moon
And my grandma reminiscing about her honeymoon.
The sound of the Chestnut Man yelling
“Quentes e boas!” in the cold of the street.
The whistle of the Knife-Sharpening man,
Early in the morning, drawing us in.
An old pop song playing in the background,
The sound of pots and pans in the kitchen,
The national anthem playing on TV at midnight,
“What’s up doc?” and “I tawt I taw a putty tat”.
My memories sound like jet planes
Landing and taking off,
“Tighten your seat belts” and “Please, don’t smoke.”
My memories squeak like airport dollies
And old airplane rolling stairs.
They are thunder and wind of an African storm,
The roaring of the fast waters of the Congo River,
The incessant bartering of women at the market,
The pleads of the beggars in the streets,
The moaning of the sick and the lonely.
My memories whistle like the wind on Scottish muirs,
And growl like the Puffins at Dunnottar.
The crystalline sound of my baby son’s laughter
And the Scottish accent of my four-year old.
Carolers singing throughout the night,
A medieval tune played out of sight.
Whistle and “Captain Aboard”,
Crowds of Navy families crying goodbyes,
Or celebrating hellos.
The silence of a Pacific Mountain,
The peace of the Puget Sound.
My memories have so many sounds.
They whisper in my ears,
Quietly, soundlessly sometimes.
They yell at me,
Loud and piercing other times.
They are echoes of my past,
Little souvenirs of feelings, thoughts, impressions,
Tiny mosaics that made me strong enough to last.