Weather Forecast


Marilyn Heltzer: Stop for a second and listen to what’s around you

Stop reading for just a moment and listen.

What do you hear? Even though as I age, my hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, the world is filled with sounds.

When I walk my dog in the morning, I hear birds chirping. I could put on ear buds and listen to the news. But I choose not to. The sounds of nature are so much better.

Back at home, the microwave hums as I heat up my coffee.

The fridge emits the faintest sound as it goes on, cooling what’s inside.

The furnace spills out warmth and I hear it go on in the basement. In several months, it’ll be the air conditioner and cool air will pour out of those vents.

If I want music or news, the radio goes on with a flick of a switch.  And oh, television! Some folks turn it on the moment they get out of bed. But both radio and TV are available even before our feet hit the floor. The remote control, ya know.   

There’s the Simon and Garfunkel song, “The Sounds of Silence.” There are many explanations of what that song means. But the main one for me is that I’m so fortunate to have my hearing, diminished as it is.  There are, however, lots of ads for hearing aids. And that’s a sign that more of us are growing older.

One of my cousins has a deaf son, Eddie. His deafness is genetic. Eddie has fathered children by a woman who’s also deaf.  I understand that they hoped their children would be torn deaf, too, and indeed a couple of them are.

Eddie has learned sign language. He’s an avid Facebooker, and some of his postings are of people who sign with swiftness.  And accuracy, I assume.  There was that guy who signed at Nelson Mandella’s memorial service whose gibberish caused an outcry among people who recognized that he was a fraud.

There have been other children born in Canada, to a branch of the families that landed there, who also have been born deaf.  I’ve lost track of them, and our three daughters and can all hear, as can my granddaughter. We are blessed.

I don’t know how my ears work. There are doctors and audiologists who do.  I’m grateful that they have studied and learned and can tell me what’s wrong, and what I can do about it. Sure, it costs money. But many things in this life have a price tag.

And many things do not. Like the sounds I hear in my house, and outside.

My dog barks when somebody comes to the door. I can hear meat sizzling in a frying pan, or soup bubbling gently.  People who live on lakes hear the waves as they roll in.

Now, next month, I’ll talk about eyes.

I could tell you how I almost failed my eye test when I renewed my driver’s license and the gratitude I feel for the woman at the renewal center who said, “Just one more try.” I passed.

And you don’t want me to talk about eyes? I get it. Thanks for reading. And yes, it’s so good that you’re able to see these words!