Sounds in the City #sol16

I love my city at night.

Last night, I took our two dogs for their final walk before bedtime. Although the wind and the chill in the air are probably seasonable for early March in Boston, it felt particularly cold compared to the balmy afternoon we had had. I slice of lifepulled my faux fur hood over my head and hoped that they’d do their business quickly so I could return to the comfort of my bed and the newest episode of The Daily Show waiting on demand.

As their nails briskly “click click clicked” down the sidewalk, I listened through the muffled cocoon of my jacket’s hood, and then I let it fall away so I could really, truly hear my city’s sounds.

In the distance, a siren, its wail rising and falling as another joined it in chorus, playing tag across the wind.

My neighbor’s giant wind chimes, their music like hollow glass.

The scuffing shuffle of someone’s sneakers ahead of me, shoulders hunkered, legs moving them quickly through the frigid darkness.

At the beginning of my Creative Writing class, we spend a number of days focused on imagery. I encourage them to put away their headphones, leave their cell phones and iPods in their bags and pockets, and take notice of the world around them. Too often we zoom from one moment to the next that I worry we are losing the act of thoughtful absorption. I suppose the trendy new word for this is “mindfulness”…

I just know it as “the necessary work of a writer.”


6 thoughts on “Sounds in the City #sol16

  1. I work with preschoolers, and I love to do these ‘listening walks’ with them – using our ears and not our voices. I love the sounds you heard! I hope it led to you not being so desperate to get back inside. I am not a dog owner…I imagine it takes real fortitude to leave the comfort of one’s bed for this duty!! Thank you for sharing.


  2. Ariel, I’m glad you decided to join our cool club. I’m especially glad you exposed your ears to the elements to fully absorb the sounds. Thanks for reminding us that sounds are always around us.


  3. Ariel, how did I not know you have two dogs??? I could hear the sound of their nails click-click-clicking down the street and feel the cold night air. So glad you are doing this challenge with us!


  4. What a beautiful piece. In the warm comfort of my home, I could hear the sounds you shared: the “hollow glass” sound of your neighbor’s chimes…Thank you.


  5. I loved the imagery of this piece, and, like Michelle, I could hear the clicking of the dogs’ nails. I would often have those moments of clarity while walking my dogs, usually in the middle of my hope they’d hurry up and wanting to be warm. Nice writing that connected me to moments and Corgis I miss…


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