The power of sound

Yesterday, while getting ready for church and while sitting in church, the unmistakable roar of thunder could be heard. If I hadn’t known what it was, it would have chilled me to the bone. It was loud and resonant and obviously quite close. For many, knowing what it was didn’t alleviate any fear. For me, knowledge produced images in my head – the rain, the wind, the safe haven of being in a sanctuary.

Later in the day, while cruising Facebook, I came across a recording of a waltz, written by, believe it or not, Anthony Hopkins (yes, that Anthony Hopkins). It was delightful. I watched the video which often showed Sir Anthony listening to the music he had written. You could see on his face and with the movement of his head, that he almost wanted to get up and start dancing. What different images played in my head than from earlier in the day. I, too, wanted to get up and start dancing, and I could see in my mind’s eye doing just that.

What other sounds affect us? What about the sound of an infant’s cry or alternately a baby’s coo? The sound of raised voices can instill fear or produce anger or caution. Laughter can induce reciprocal laughter or curiosity or even embarrassment, depending on the situation. Nature is full of sounds: bird’s song, rushing rivers, chattering brooks, wind in the leaves, a dog’s bark. A city produces noises from factories, cars, buses, school children, sirens.

At night, I love the sound of soft breathing coming from my son’s room and the sound of quiet, knowing my family is still and resting. It is one of my favorite “sounds”.

If sound can create thoughts, emotions, and pictures in our heads, can the description of sounds using only words, create those sounds in our heads? And then of course, will the pictures follow? As I writer, I certainly hope so.

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About Mary Ellen Bramwell

I am an author, wife and mother.
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