This I Believe

Douglas - Middlesex, Vermont
Entered on December 22, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children
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I believe in the sound of children laughing. Doug Mann. – 2.

Entombed in my office coffin, proximity has made us roommates. I, at work in my lonely little cell. They, in the nearby school yard, visible up high, maybe, if I climb up a bit and craned out my little office 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 snugly in my working confines. 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 an often 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 sound, in airports, in stores – It is a sound that should be considered blessed – the sound of children laughing.

I sit alert that day- on the clock –a data program is running – I check an email while the program runs – and there I go- my mind drifts to a wonderful day – This particular day was 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 futile. 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 finally 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 at times 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- To laugh, enjoy, enjoy, the wind, the ball, the sun, the clouds, the scents – the grass, flowers, cut grass, far too many weeds – We live, we work, but truly we live to smell the pines and the scents of summer and be consumed by the sound of children laughing.

The staff 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 the file, attach the file, PM me, IM me. … But, my mind wandered to that place – that special place – the small window – I peek up 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 grow up and no longer understand – but we use to- we still try to sometimes. The child at times, tries everything to understand our purposeful, predictable 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.