The Phenomena of Light and Sound

8 Sep



Tonight, once again, I sat on my patio enjoying a nightcap at the end of a busy day.

The sky had turned dark; not suddenly but much sooner that it seemed to have darkened a few weeks ago. It is now early September and I have read about an equinox or two having passed us humans by.

But the patio; I should explain.

It is a transplant from enjoyable days long passed. It came from Pennsylvania where we had a camper. The patio was attached to the camper at that time. Our camping days were terminated due to illness and I disassembled the aluminum awning and the aluminum fence-railing surrounding the camper. It was then transplanted off the back of our home by my son and I.

I enjoy the transplanted patio – – – it brings back happy memories. I only wish it brought back memories to my love. She appears to have lost her capability to remember. I try to do it for her but I am sure it is fruitless; however; I must attempt it anyway.

Our transplanted patio – – – its roof and its railing – – – are tonight bathed in streetlights from one side and the other. I sit against the house thereby avoiding being seen; although I am sure some watch me as I imbibe my night-cap.

The streetlight to the left highlights nearly three-quarters of the white aluminum railing. The streetlight to the right highlights only the lawn.

And this is where I start speaking of the phenomena of light and sound.

I hear new sounds and old sounds.

The new are only heard on the hour. They are the chimes in the tower of the nearby university. They toll on the hour, every hour. The sound is soothing and yet in some way fastidious. We need to know the hour in order to be on time for whatever we have committed ourselves to.

Tonight it is the commitment to tend to the evening chores. Tomorrow morning it will be the commitment to take our one mile sunrise walk.

Ten years ago one mile would have surely seemed insufficient. Today; it is essential.

The ‘new’ sound of the university tower chimes are suddenly overrun by the distant sound of a train whistle. I immediately know where the whistle is coming from; the place where I grew up.

The train whistle creates the phenomena of a train engineer waving from his window as he drives past my boyhood home. I wave to him and he waves back; throwing another five pounds of pressure into the whistle just for my pleasure. He drove engine number 504.

The phenomena do not end there. The train and its tracks and its bridges bring back memories of crossing the Susquehanna River. The railroad bridge, for its entire six tier length, was the only route over the Susquehanna from fall to springtime. The summer offered another route; swimming the width of the river in order to meet with the farm girls that lived on the other side.

That phenomena belongs to another story.

In the fall and spring we would walk across the railroad bridge in order to hunt and fish. In the winter my dad would take me across the bridge to pick wild ivy and bittersweet berry branches. My mom and dad would weave them into Christmas wreathes and I would go door to door selling them.

However, the bridge was dangerous when a train was coming up from behind me. Two trains going in opposite directions would force me to jump onto a side girder and hang on for dear life.

It was a little harder if you had your hunting dog and shotgun with you.

The Phoebe Snow was silent and could creep up on you. It typically ran across the railroad bridge at 3:15 PM. The Phoebe Snow was on its daily run from Hoboken, New Jersey to Buffalo, New York.


But of course, here I am telling you the story, so it couldn’t have been that bad.

Therefore, the sound of the train whistle in the distance created quite a phenomena for an old man sitting on his patio and listening to the night sounds.

Those sounds include mechanical things and natural things.

The mechanical are simple to explain; the natural not quite so much.

Being a modern person I have an aluminum patio roof (transplanted from Pennsylvania as I have explained) and vinyl siding on my garage. Today was a very hot day for the northeast and the materials drastically expanded. Tonight, as the sun went down, these materials shrank and made little popping and squeaking sounds. Of course I should have recognized the sounds but I didn’t due to the large amount of shrinkage. The sounds were not pleasant like the university chimes and the train whistle. They had no depth of history or memories within them. Maybe in another few years these mechanical sounds could develop a memory or two; but not at the present.

Then there were the insects singing. They were not crickets or cicada bugs.

They were just thousands of little insects searching for each other in the night; not unlike humans. But I think they sang much better!

As I listened my eye caught the flashing lights of an airplane. There was no sound due to the height it was traveling. I attempted to surmise where it was going and came up with a Kennedy Airport to Toronto, Canada flight. My surmise will never be proven true or false but it was true to me.

I am not as clear about it as I am about the Phoebe Snow route.

And oh yes; I was treated to one shooting star.

I suppose that I could go on and on and blather the same way I normally do about things that are in the past – – – or imaginary in the future.

All I really wanted to do was to point out that a few sounds and lights are truly phenomenal even though we think of light and sound being ubiquitous.

Anyway; I enjoyed my patio this warm summer evening and I hope you enjoyed your evening wherever you spent it.

Phenomena is a beautiful thing!



3 Responses to “The Phenomena of Light and Sound”

  1. virginiallorca September 8, 2015 at 3:59 am #

    My exquisite comments won’t post.

    • Waldo "Wally" Tomosky September 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

      I am sure if they would have posted they would be exquisite, grammatically correct, and – – – if necessary – – – bathed in a healthy dose of truthful critique. Take care Virginia.

  2. Waldo "Wally" Tomosky September 8, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    Reblogged this on waldotomosky.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: