This I Believe

Douglas - Middlesex, Vermont
Entered on December 5, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children

I believe in the sound of children laughing.

Entombed in my office coffin, I sit working on this device of magic of the modern, technological age- this wonderment – the desk, the phone, computer. Proximity has made us roommates. I, in my lonely little cell. They, in the school visible up high for me, if I climbed up a bit and peeked out my little window. The sound, however, fills me, haunts me with happiness, with distraction. This day was warm, the window open. And there it was, the noise, that delightful noise. It must be lunch time. Maybe, it is recess time, do I really know or care ? And I hear it, happiness comes over me, even though I exist in this confined existence, I know as ‘work’. It is that sound, that wonderful sound, noise to some, to me, its soothing, its beautiful- the sound of children laughing.

This is what I believe in . There is no greater sound. The jets take off, the cars go faster. I hear there is a new way to book a flight, a new way to balance my bank account. Yet, I live for that sound- The sound of children laughing. I live in a fake world, a planned world, this is what I will do, this is what you will do. My mind searches for simplicity and understanding. I know what it is – I hear it – I hear the noise, in airports, in stores – It is a sound that should be considered blessed – the sound of children laughing.

I sit alert that day –a data program is running – I check an email while it runs – and there I go- my mind wanders to a wonderful day – This particular day was a truly a fine day for play. The wiffle ball flew through the air. It was a windy day. The ball floated and fluttered without reason, without logic. Catching the ball was hopeless. There was no strategy. My planned, strategized life had lost all dimension as I struggled to catch this ball. Do we all enter that world? This simple goal is the mission, the one to achieve the objective. The wind came and went. It was a magical day. I caught a ball that day, bringing it into my warm hands, under a soft summer, the sky, gray in many ways, but not to me. I could hear the sound of the children laughing. The pine smell soaked the air. The bugs were bad that day. The sudden cloud cover had caused still air, the bugs liked that. The objective was so clear, so wonderful, hit the ball, and run. We all like to run, we all run toward something. Run to achieve or don’t run at all. But to laugh, enjoy, enjoy, the wind, the ball, the sun, the clouds, the scents – the grass, flowers, cut grass, far too many weeds – You live, you work, but truly, you have not lived to you have smelled the pines and the scents of summer and been consumed by the sound of children laughing.

The meeting was intense. No one escaped from this one. Email, instant message, cell phone – modern technology had captured all of us this day. You did this, CC me on this, zip me, attach the file, PM me, IM me. … But, my mind wandered to that place – that special place – the small window – I peek through it , or I just sit and listen- I sit, I hear that lovely sound… I go to my little window to hear the sound. … ..

The big slide was fast that day . I’m sure I would labor out there – too big, too consumed with predictable outcome – to ride down the slide the right way – big butt cheeks, squeaking, laboring, skin on metal and slow we go and we as grownups don’t understand – but we use to- we still try to sometimes, but, we just don’t get it. The child tries everything to understand our stupid, predictable, slow world. All must have reason. You could get hurt going that fast. What will the outcome be- I need to know this.

I can’t be in that world – not now – please don’t make me….

Grab on , they say? Why… the big slide is very fast today. I can go so fast on it. I could put my shoes down to slow me up. But, I don’t. I will certainly fly off the end. Life has dealt me that. I need to do it. I could grab on to the side, but I just can’t. I have to know. I have to know. Life has challenged me, and I have survived and I laugh- that laugh – the sound of my laughing. I love to laugh, to smile, to feel the world has, for that brief second consumed me with joy – has given me joy – the joy of laughter – the freedom of joy and laughter.

The sound – that wonderful sound, the sound of children laughing – the sound that transcends time, and gives me hope.