I am in a hotel

And last night I was in another hotel.

No, I was teaching until 9:30.  Wait, that was the other two nights.  Oh, all three.

Was I in a hotel last night?  No, that was two weeks ago.  St. Petersburg.  No, Austin.

Spring break was last week, right?  Oh, yes, grandkids, allergies arriving to tell me my allergy shots are not working quite that well.

Did I remove that fallen tree in the front of the cabin?  I think so, yes.  The unfinished one is on the back of our property.  Yes, I got the one in front.

I talked to my brother Buck and his  beloved Carole, into the night, tore myself away in the morning to go to SXSW.  Three weeks, no, two Fridays ago.

Beau has a solid idea, the financing for Tokata seems almost doable, Brandon might get this job he wants, Kourtney has overcome her last huge setback, Fred and Frieda may get past his infidelity, Pat may close this round of funding, Jill’s artwork is getting helps from unexpected places, and yes, I still enjoy teaching.

Maybe, just maybe I do not shirk from hotels, because if I turn off the phone…..

The swirls diminish just a tiny bit, leaving the possibility of silence, just the possibility.

The Average

The average.

Centuries ago, a philosopher (they were the scientists of the day) was thinking about hearing.  He listened at the beach.  And loved the lulling, beautiful roar of the surf and came to understand something about too much information.

When our ear is assaulted by the thousands, the millions of noises at a beach: each wave crashing every few inches; the bubbles popping on the beach as surf retreats, each grain of sand tumbling over another grain, each shell of each tiny organism bumbling, the wind, the waves going back out, fish jumping, children shouting as they play in the safety of the shallows.

One, long, continuous slightly falling and rising roar.

We average the infinite, innumerable individual sounds into a hypnotic, restive roar.

The city gives off another, sonorous roar.  All the cars idling, running, and passing trucks when not locked into traffic jamming street after street.  Heat exchange units on the top of buildings, gigantic fans and pumps rumbling in the basements over which we walk on grating after grating, peering down into concrete abysses that keep air, water, electricity and more esoteric elements into skyscrapers that grow up explosively, and fall to earth infinitesimally for decades.

The city, unlike the ocean, punctuates its roar with sirens, jack hammers, rumbling subways, crashes, guns, helicopters, and up close, emerging from the dark or the roar – voices.

Unmistakably, voices that are busy, concerned, in love, minding children, playing chess, and looking for the next opportunity.

And of all the averaged noises comprising the roar, these voices overshadow us, shake us, whisper to us that our brief tenure here is important, is relevant — to someone.

When one of our voices is drowned, either at the beach or in the city, it shakes us, stuns us, makes all the world taste like sand for a while.