A House, a Wooden Floor, a Plank of Wood

October 25, 2009
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I settled in the living room of my house, which overlooks the kitchen. For a half hour I observed my mom cook and tidy up the kitchen, as well as watch my cat Spooky eat and wander around. In this seemingly short period of time, I was fully aware of the sounds we normally don’t hear when we’re caught up in the bustle of things. I heard the clock’s uneven ticks, the low hum of the heater that is only recognizable when it finally shuts off into complete silence, and the quiet simmer of the water my mom was bringing to a boil. Now was the time when I closed my eyes, to let my ears do most of the work. I could occasionally hear the sound of my cat’s paws padding onto the rug, and the slight scrape of claws when it leaped onto the counter for his much-awaited meal. House noises, of course, were present. Creaking and low hums created the background sound for my the making of dinner by my mother. Apart from simmering water, I heard the bigger bubbles now surfacing in the pot, and the clicks of the dials on my stove, signaling progress made in the recipe. These above thoughts were made possible by the quiet environment and special attention to thought and observation. However, these feelings were only external. I was almost sure that these observations, and this assignment, could perhaps reveal a new conclusion, or a lesson to be learned?

The outside world, reduced now to a small kitchen and living room, a cocoon of sorts, made me feel still and alone. Isolated in a good way. A sort of detachment from the world, when you watch sometime from afar and after blinking a few times, realize that you are indeed involved in that picture. And now completely moving away from elaborate and eloquent speech, I felt “cozy”; perhaps it was the dim lighting or warm air or the constant noise that can be considered comforting and busy, that I felt truly “at home” both literally and figuratively. A few deep breaths in and out brought the smell of garlic and sauce into my nostrils, and I didn’t have to hear the ding of the microwave timer to know that the pasta had come to a boil and dinner was now ready. Relying on my senses really helped me relate to my surroundings and notice the little things I had never once noticed, like the certain noise my reclining chair makes or the small scratches created by scrambling paws on the hardwood floors. It put things neatly in perspective and helped me to break down every little thing in my home; the house was not just a house, but a wooden floor, and smaller than that a plank of wood, and even smaller than that the grain lines of which were marked by tiny scratches and dents. And in that moment, anything in my life had seemed simple, once it was broken down into its basic elements.

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