The Sound of You

To the New Year

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible
— W.S. Merwin

To 2015…I don’t remember the sound of you before you presented yourself, but I do remember the sounds that followed. Before January was over, my days contained the daily thump and thud of chairs shuffling along a grey vinyl tile, the thunder of bags and packs hitting the floor while growling zippers hissed and spit, exposing their contents. Then came the search for that favorite mechanical pencil now missing its eraser, among the rustle of paper and notebooks caused by rooting around that dark abyss that was student life. There were the late night clinks and clatter of large format printers that soon fell into the gentle, hypnotic swoosh of ink carried back and forth across the paper, giving way to the sighing sounds of exasperation or exhaustion, all the while Elton John’s Tiny Dancer playing in the background (an indication that the TA wanted to be there about as much as you did). Sixteen weeks later, attended by my benevolent family, Pomp and Circumstance filled the concert hall marking an end to my academic study.

The summer was ushered in with the splitting peel of shipping tape and the rumble of cardboard boxes as we transferred our belongings into our new home. We spent the next few months nestling into this hillside structure, listening to the wind whisper and wheeze around the cantilevers that provided us with our tree house view. Impatient to get to work, these sounds soon gave way to the scratching of pencil against paper and the clink of brushes against jars filled with ink. As fall ensued these sounds reached fever pitch as I plugged away at my work. During two weekends in November, B. B. Renee and I opened the studio door during the EAST Austin Studio Tour, ushering in the rumble and laughter of people taking in the local art scene. Validation was in hand and the hubbub was music to my ears. All in all, 2015 sounded pretty terrific.

To 2016…I may not remember the sound of you as you are now, I can only hope that you will be filled with the sounds of creativity and hard work. I hope that you will be filled with sounds associated with love and laughter, and of kindness. I hope that you will sound like the whisper of a voice that utters "job well done."

   Photo credit:  B.B. Renee                                                                                                            2015 EAST Austin Studio Tour


Photo credit: B.B. Renee                                                                                                           2015 EAST Austin Studio Tour