While driving home after coaching a Masters Swim workout I heard a program on NPR. The show’s topic asked what would be the last soundtrack you would want to memorize if you knew you were going deaf.
A few years ago I created a list of songs I listened to before I started one of my swim attempts to cross the Sea of Cortez. It was meant to put my mind in a state that would effectively guide my body across the Sea. Apparently, I choose the wrong songs because I didn’t complete the swim. Since then this topic of sound and its influence on our emotions continues to fascinate me. Today NPR inspired me to write something about the sound and this question.
I’m spellbound by the relationship of water running over rocks. I used to walk into the woods on Mount Tam following a rainstorm, find a stream and record the sound of water flowing down the mountain cutting its path to the ocean. Those walks inspired dreams to one day record the season’s sound of change as water’s trickle in the dry summer transforms to a roar of water ranging down the mountain in winter. Maybe someday I’ll see that dream to the end, but perhaps as Swim Cortez has come to be remembered in the silence of my mind the dream is all I need.
Long before we walked the surface of this planet a great conflict between water and rock had begun. Find yourself at the edge of the Grand Canyon and witness the ongoing battle of the ages. In the Redwoods on Mount Tam amongst the sounds of flowing water, my imagination expands to the Rocky Mountains and the beginnings of the Colorado River. Melting snow trickles over granite boulders on its journey to the Sea of Cortez. If only I could let it reach the Sea before the trickle dries into the desert sand.
The magic of my memory is that I can go anywhere and see the same conflict of water raging its path over and eventually through rocks while flowing down the mountains to the oceans and seas.
I know from swimming, fishing, and living that water eventually and always wins in the battle of impeding rocks. Water relentless and continuous breaks the will of obstruction while carving the path that circles our life.
If I were to live in the death of sound I would want to remember water flowing over rocks. To me water creates a magical sound as it circulates through life and in time wins over the occlusion of obstruction. I will hear water in my last heartbeat.