Hearing the Birds Chirp and the Wind Whistle

Strangers approach Charlen Evans, on street corners and city buses, when they notice her cochlear implant. They greet her by placing a finger just below their ear, gliding it in an arc across the cheek and stopping just shy of the mouth. It is one of the few gestures of American Sign Language that Ms. Evans understands. They are asking if she is deaf. Ms. Evans, 61, is not always sure how to reply.

Her hearing has been impaired her entire life. In school, she weathered a litany of taunts about it, and as an adaptive measure, she learned to read lips with such mastery that she likens her talent to a sixth sense. Yet Ms. Evans said she did not feel all that different from her peers, and certainly did not feel disabled. The problem was never met with any urgency at home. “My mom always said I hear what I want to hear and didn’t believe that I had a hearing problem,” Ms. Evans said. “She was a good mother, but she didn’t like to think anything was wrong.”

Shortly after graduating from high school in Brooklyn, Ms. Evans started a family, marrying a man in the armed forces. She and her husband lived on Air Force bases in Tucson and Plattsburgh, N.Y., where she worked as a teacher’s aide, a job that finally forced her to confront the reality of her poor hearing. She struggled to hear the students in her class. […]

During a hospital visit toward the end of her mother’s life, Ms. Evans had her hearing tested. “I finally decided to do it because I wanted to hear my grandchildren say ‘I love you,’” she said.  Doctors discovered that she had bilateral hearing loss, which was severe to profound in her right ear and moderate to severe in the left. She qualified for a cochlear implant and had the surgery in 2012.

After the operation, Ms. Evans was stunned by the difference in her perceptions. She experienced the everyday chatter of the world, once beyond her ken: the swishing of her pants, the drumming of footsteps on sidewalks, the chirping of birds and the whistling of the wind. “I never even knew that made a sound,” Ms. Evans said of the wind. […]

Early last month, Ms. Evans returned to Kingsborough Community College, where she is taking classes in creative writing and sign language. She wants to one day work in a classroom again, this time in service to deaf students.

“I just want to do something worthwhile with my life.”

~ John Otis, excerpts from: “For the First Time, Hearing the Birds Chirp and the Wind Whistle. The Neediest Cases Fund.” (The New York Times, October 21, 2017)

Sunday Morning Sunrise

After reading “this several days ago, I’ve been unable to shake it from consciousness. “This” is driving the underlying current of my blog post shares of African animals.  Even this herd of elephants who wake to the morning sun and march in Tsavo National Park, seem to be doing so solemnly.


a happy time when you can escape this world, you know, and lose yourself in food

DAVIES: (Laughter) OK. We’re speaking with Anthony Bourdain. He has a new cookbook called “Appetites.” This is an interesting cookbook to look at and to read. You write in it there’s nothing remotely innovative in the recipes. You’re lifting them from imperfect memories of childhood favorites. Why this kind of book?

BOURDAIN: Well, I wanted it to be useful, approachable, reflective of the life I’ve lived over the past eight or nine years as a father, as opposed to a professional trying to dazzle with, you know, pretty pictures and food that’s different than everybody else’s. No, I wanted to make a beautiful cookbook, creative-looking one spoken in honest, straightforward, casual terms that gives the reader reasonable expectations, that encourages them to organize themselves in the way that I’ve found to be useful as a professional.

But as far as the recipes, you know, when I cook at home, it’s with a 9-year-old girl in mind. I mean, she’s who I need to please. And if she’s not happy, I’m not happy. The whole house revolves around her and her friends, so it’s reflective of that. It’s also reflective of, I think, age and all those years in the restaurant business.

Most chefs I know after work do not want to go out to dinner and be forced to think about what they’re eating in a critical or analytical way. They want to experience food as they did as children, in an emotional way, the pure pleasure of that bowl of spicy noodles or even a – you know, a bowl of soup that their mom gave them on a rainy day when they’d been bullied in school. I mean, that’s a happy time when you can escape this world, you know, and lose yourself in food. So these are recipes that hopefully – where I try to evoke those kinds of feelings and emotions.

~ Anthony Bourdain, from an interview in 2016 titled  On ‘Appetites,’ Washing Dishes And The Food He Still Won’t Eat (NPR.org, “Fresh Air“, October 20, 2017)

Bourdain’s cookbook can be found here: Appetites: A Cookbook


Notes:

Saturday Morning

Smoke: tobacco burning, coal smoke, wood-fire smoke, leaf smoke. Most of all, leaf smoke. This is the only odor I can will back to consciousness just by thinking about it. I can sit in a chair, thinking, and call up clearly to mind the smell of burning autumn leaves, coded and stored away somewhere in a temporal lobe, firing off explosive signals into every part of my right hemisphere. But nothing else: if I try to recall the thick smell of Edinburgh in winter, or the accidental burning of a plastic comb, or a rose, or a glass of wine, I cannot do this; I can get a clear picture of any face I feel like remembering, and I can hear whatever Beethoven quartet I want to recall, but except for the leaf bonfire I cannot really remember a smell in its absence. To be sure, I know the odor of cinnamon or juniper and can name such things with accuracy when they turn up in front of my nose, but I cannot imagine them into existence.

~ Lewis ThomasA Long Line of Cells: Collected Essays


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: 5:00 PM Bell!


Notes:

  • Source: Daily Mail (via Cheetah Camp).  Tourists spotted the animals grazing in the brush as the wildlife enthusiasts travelled to Maasi Mara in Kenya. After watching the giraffes for about 20 minutes, the tour group watched in awe as the herd crossed the road. Sonali Dudhane, from Lucknow, India, watched as the giant animals dwarfed the two tour vehicles in Africa
  • Related Posts: 5:00 PM Bell

Flying Over I-40 N. Apple-Pie-In-A-Jar and Ordinary Moments of Kindness.

It worked.

For four consecutive nights, two baby blue Advil PM pills worked their magic.  7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours of deep, dreamy sleep. Wake fresh, and refreshed.

And then, it didn’t.

Last night.

6:00 p.m.

Early dinner at Hotel restaurant. Delicious pan seared halibut, its light, ivory flesh falling away from the buttery crusted filet with the touch of my fork. Creamy Mac & Cheese as a side. Two cocktails to chase it down. And, a deconstructed “apple-pie-in-a-jar” for a night cap. Spoon to jar to mouth, a pendulum, without pause, a sugar addict’s fix. God, I love dessert.  Delectable in the moment. Regrettable the moment I set the spoon down, scraping the last of the thick sugary cream from the jar. And I thought of grabbing this jar in a vice grip with two hands, lifting it to my face and licking it clean with my tongue. Oh, yes I did.

I sat, restless, waiting for the check – – and tucked my thumb down the front of my pants to let some air in.

8:45 p.m.

Cued up Michael Barbaro’s Podcast The Daily.

And it was lights out.

12:30 a.m.

Overheated. Turning, and turning, and turning. I jerk the covers off. 

[Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.

‘What did you mean by saying that you were psychic?’

‘What did you think I meant?’

‘Spiritualism?’ ‘Infantilism.’ ‘That’s what I think.’

‘Of course.’

I could just make out his face in the light from the doorway. He could see more of mine, because I had swung round during that last exchange. ‘You haven’t really answered my question.’

‘Your first reaction is the characteristic one of your contrasuggestible century: to disbelieve, to disprove. I see this very clearly underneath your politeness. You are like a porcupine. When that animal has its spines erect, it cannot eat. If you do not eat, you will starve. And your prickles will die with the rest of your body.’

~ John Fowles, The Magus


Notes:

  • Photo: A porcupine curls up in a garden outside of Moscow on Wednesday. (Yuri Kadobnov, Agence France, September 21, 2017)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Series Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
  • Today, this post was inspired by LouAnn: What About Us?

It’s been a long day

If just looking could be so satisfying, why was I always striving to have things or to get things done? Certainly I had never suspected that the key to my private reality might lie in so apparently simple a skill as the ability to let the senses roam unfettered by purposes. I began to wonder whether eyes and ears might not have a wisdom of their own.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Photo: James L. Stanfield @ NatGeo. Close-up of Bactrian camel. Just like their cousins, the dromedary or Arabian camels, Bactrian camels have built-in protection from the desert sand: long lashes and bushy brows keep sand out of their eyes, and their nostrils close to prevent sand from getting in.
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Puppies. Warm all hearts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin kisses the Turkmen shepherd dog that Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov gave him during a meeting in Sochi, Russia. (Maxim Shemetov / Reuters, wsj.com 10/11/17)

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