Taming the Breeze

March 14th, 2014

It was a cold day; made only colder by the dry, bitter wind that dusted the grassy hollow in the middle of the park. I walked through the crispy grass to the middle of the field. I could see almost the entire park from where I was: The little boy and his father throwing a ball back and forth, a young woman in her early thirties, jogging, desperately trying to keep up with the young twenty-somethings. I shut my eyes and spread my hands out, letting the cold take them.

I imagined that I could hear the little boy yelling with glee as he threw the ball to his father. I imagined that I could hear the rhythmic breathing of the joggers and the slow whirring of the passing bicycles.

I tried imagined that I could hear.

But I couldn’t.

My ears had shut themselves, I had shut my eyes, and the bitter cold had shut my nose, leaving only my ever-numbing skin as a window to the world. The wind brushed across my body, caressed my face, and hugged my cold body. I felt it put its arms around me, like hands on my back-

My eyes snapped open.

And the feeling disappeared.

The wind danced around me, invisible, like the sounds that eternally evaded my pursuit. I grasped for it, but nothing I could do would ever let me clutch its fur. It bounded through the space around me, a physical manifestation of movement that escapes all of my attempts at touch, yet can touch me. And the only way that I can see it is by seeing it’s effects.

I stood, arms outstretched, in the open field, trying to touch the only other thing in the universe that evaded me, yet affected me.

My emotions, like wind climbing from my heart into the dry dusty leaves in the branches of my soul, seem to escape the responsibility in the same way as the cold wind. They both hide from sight, but never hesitate to wrap their arms around you. They both are invisible, and can only be seen by what they affect.

But the wind, like the feelings that blow through my mind, cannot be tamed or guided or captured – It can only be followed, or embraced, but even then, only for an instant. My thoughts follow them: for even when I feel my thoughts touching me, I snap my eyes open, only to find that they’re no longer there.

I walk to this park every day, because it’s the only place that I can imagine what it’s like to hear a sound. After I embraced the fullness of the wind, I opened my eyes and studied the park, but the boy and his father have taken the ball and headed home. The jogger who was hustling to keep up with her youth has slowed to a hefty walk.

Maybe this is what a sound is like – A glimpse, a fleeting feeling or sensation, invisible to see but not impossible, invisible to the touch, but not intangible. Impossible to tame, but not impossible to chase. You can hear it for a moment, but as soon as you realize what you’re hearing, or what you’re feeling, or what you’re thinking, it’s gone. This may be what a sound is like, but I’ll never know.

Maybe this is what it means to be deaf.

I turn around and pull my coat closer around my tight body, drawing close to a shiver.

Maybe this is what it means to be human.


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