I walked down to Lake Union again on Monday evening.
Only a few days earlier, I had been lakeside yet again, watching the fireworks over Gasworks Park, and weirdly resenting the masses of people pushing into what I felt illogically was My Space. Normally, only a handful of people are walking the docks, but on the Fourth, the park was a wall of people.
Fortunately for my equanimity, Monday found our urban lake habitat restored its usual quiet self. Or what passes for quiet, since as I sat on the sun-bleached boards of the wooden boats docks, I began to hear noises I mistaken for silence.
The dock itself swayed with a certain syncopation. On the upward thrust of the gentle waves, I heard a rather high-pitched mewling sound, soft, like a weak kitten. Downwards, the dock emitted a metalic croak. Aged metal strained against the push and pull of the water. Beneath it all was a constant gurgle.
It was unexpectedly harmonious, taken as a whole. Any single sound would have annoyed on their own, intruding on a bare silence. Altogether, they charmed.
I began to mentally sort each sound, as if I was shaking it off, extracting it from the whole, holding it up to the light, and then delicately re-inserting it. I catalogued them all:
* One invisible wasp, tethered and slippery
* A clickety zippering noise, shiny like ball bearings
* Velvety rustle of the politely distant motorboat, refusing to intrude
* A strident goose honk
* The embarrassed quacks reproaching the goose
* The mechanical purring growl of the seaplane
* The indiscreet and rather gauche burp of a propeller refusing to start
* The slithery hiss of a winch unspooling
* Sloshy groans
* Twittering tourists, shielded behind unfolded maps.
* The sound of curiosity, as emitted by the gentleman in the burnt orange t-shirt, watching me with noisy soundlessness from his yacht, as I scribbled down this list.