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Staring into the dark emptiness at the back of my eyelids, I discern the sounds around me. I hear the water splash as I sit cross-legged on the moss-covered boulder in the middle of Bald Hill Stream. A raindrop falls somewhere to my left and merges itself with its brothers. I hear more droplets fall onto my island rock of contemplation. Each sound is distinct. The gurgling of the water, the trickling of the raindrops, each sounds differently. I can hear the wind sweeping through the limbs and rustling the leaves. As the wind picks up and the rain falls harder, the ensemble of sounds begins to overwhelm my ears. Transporting me into a new state of consciousness, the sounds continue to swarm in the air and fill it with the richness of melody. The droplets fall even harder than before, and no individual sound stands alone anymore. Instead, the smashing of raindrops forms harmonies with the rolling of the river, and the screaming winds add to the symphony. As I listen, the once individual sounds now combine to create an orchestrated ensemble… a meaning behind the sound.
Entering the room, a discord of noise greeted me. I could hear the flutists tuning their instruments, violinists practicing difficult passages, and percussionists banging ferociously on their various toys. Sound filled every crack of the rehearsal room. Sounds that did not seem to share any commonalty blasted away in an egregious manner. I heard the sharp cry of a piccolo and the slurping slides of the trombone player. In one corner sat the low, ground-rattling tones of the basses, and in the other corner sat the dark sounds of the horns. I took my concertmaster seat at the front of the orchestra and added to the ruckus by tuning my own violin. The door swung open and our maestro walked to the front of the room. All tuning and practicing ceased, and our attention focused toward him. Standing on the podium, he gazed out at the assortment of musicians. Majestically lifting his silver baton high in the air, he thrust down the opening beat like a sword out of heaven. Instantly all the sound I had heard before, the sounds, which had once intermingled senselessly, suddenly connected. The once chaotic cacophony now established a purpose, a connection that brought all our parts together. Plopping my fingers down into the correct position and pressing the horsehair bow with the appropriate pressure onto the steel strings, I melodically bowed away at my part of the symphony. I could hear the oboes provide the counter melody to the violas’ lyrical line and the basses play in perfect unison with the bassoon. Each instrument contributed its own sound, its own personality, to create the music and each sound was vital to the completeness of the symphony.
As the storm reaches its last notes, the rain begins to steady and the wind dies down. I hear the splash of heavy droplets off the leaves. The river is still audible but instead of the deafening roar, it decrescendos to a steady trickle. Still sitting on my boulder, the symphony of rain pipes out its final note. The sounds again feel unconnected and individual, but this time I know a connection exists, even if I cannot hear it.
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