Island Blog – The Voice of Calm

I sit on the doorstep outside with a cup of good coffee and watch the birds flit and chirp their way among the seed feeders. Sunflower seeds, hearts, peanuts, fat balls. The birds who come here are abundant in number and breed for I am a faithful birdling. In fact, I probably spend more wonga on my feathery friends than I do on ingredients for dinner. To watch a multitude in coloured flight carry out their own idea of ordinary is heaven to me, and not just me, not just we who live in this old stone hill-perched island dwelling. Visitors gasp at the sight. Siskins, goldfinches, robins blackbirds, sparrows, woodpeckers, thrushes, greenfinches, collared doves and more, all gathered for the feast, is a sight indeed. The birds are calm around me as long as I move slowly, reassuring them in my reassuring voice which is low and soft and in Db Minor.

That low sweet voice is employed at other times and it is astonishing how it can calm and re-balance a situation just by falling from my lips. It can hold chaos at bay, chaos that is right in front of me, all red and angry and planning destruction. Just a voice against all that seems crazy and yet I know it to be true. It thinks me a lot. If I walk deeper into ‘crazy’ I find many examples of a calming voice throughout history. Raised voices, like those in government, all shouting at the same time and responding to each other in aggressive and un-melodic tones, bring no resolution of peace and never will. There are times for shouting, of course, when in need of a taxi, for example, or when calling the collies to heel, but the world is just far too loud. I believe we all miss peace like we miss water in a desert.

So, yesterday, this calming voice in DbMinor came in very handy. Inside I could feel the sharps of chaos, the drumbeat of fear threatening to knock out my ribcage. I heard himself call out for me. He couldn’t move. I couldn’t move him either and called a friend to help. We got him downstairs and into his chair but as the morning moved on I was concerned enough to call for an ambulance. He didn’t look well at all and still couldn’t stand or walk. I watched him carefully as he slipped in and out of an exhausted sleep. I fed him water and little bites of food and a few phrases in DbMinor. We got through the day. I cannot imagine what was going through his mind. He doesn’t share that with me. This could be a blip. This could also be the next chasm in the wilderness of dementia, one that we would all have to cross one way or another. Time will tell and there’s my calming voice. Time is in control of this, Time and All The Other Unseens. Who am I, small chaotic “I” to imagine I can do anything at all to change things? All I can do is to find that DbMinor and to breathe it in, speak it out, let it become the soother it is to all those birds out there, to the dog, the children, to himself, and to trust that I am enough to work with whatever comes next, that in soothing, I am soothed, that in giving, I receive and that in loving I am loved.

And that musical phrase rises me like a lark into the morning blue.

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