Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Story About Windchimes

There is really nothing quite as relaxing as a set of windchimes, tuned to A#. The sound is rich and thick and earthy and she has always loved that octave, has always felt a sense of peace when hearing them play in the breeze.

Her neighbor has two sets of chimes, but both are tuned to a much higher octave which becomes increasingly annoying when the wind is gusting.

Last weekend her boyfriend asked her if she remembered the set of chimes she had given him for Christmas one year. She tilted her head to one side, remembering and then said, "Those cost me sixty bucks! You've never even hung them up!"

Guilty as charged, he offered them to her with the explanation that he is always at her house and just never would have enjoyed them at his.

That afternoon they moved the shepherd's crook from the back yard to the west end of her front porch, taking a lot of time to position it just perfectly so the chimes would sway just above the floor of the porch but far enough away from the white aluminum guttering that the wooden clapper would not swing into it, causing nicks and cuts in the beautiful diamond-shaped walnut wood.

Later in the day, with a steady breeze effecting their music, the two sat in the Beach House and relaxed, drank beer, ate the food she prepared on the grill, and talked of love and music while the chimes swung and sang.

When a storm blew in that evening, they paced and worried inside the house. "Should we take them down?" "I don't know...you know the neighbor never takes hers down, and besides, aren't they made for WIND? After all, they ARE windchimes."

The wind started picking up at ten o'clock that night, and the chimes were not playing music but screaming for redemption at the west end of her porch. Twice she opened the door and looked out, once nearly losing an arm when the wind, now gusting at about fifty miles per hour caught the storm door and ripped it out of her hand, the second time actually braving stepping out onto the porch but being chased quickly inside by a huge bolt of lightning.

Resigned to leaving the windchimes outside, they went to bed. The next morning, with the wind still gusting hard, they vowed to ignore the music of death outside and leave those chimes hanging right where they were. That was their job, and that was that.

All day long on Saturday, she listened to them blowing, could occasionally hear the neighbor's lighter, higher-octave chimes tinkling in the mix, but convinced herself that she enjoyed the thick, dark tones given off continuously by her A#-tuned windchimes.

Saturday night they went to bed with the wind still blowing steadily, gusts so strong they were taking limbs out of her big oak tree out back with ease. Several times in the night she awoke, and even upstairs, tucked away in an attic bedroom, under the eaves, she heard the continuous chiming.

On Sunday morning she awoke, stretched and was greeted by a steady wind and the music from outside. She nudged her boyfriend and said, "You think the neighbors are hating our new windchimes yet?" And he replied with, "I heard a gunshot at about eleven o'clock, did you?"

Alarmed by the jogged memory she said, "I did! I heard that, too, really close. What do you think happened?"

Don sat up and rubbed his eyes and said, "I think someone was shooting at our new windchimes."

She trudged down the stairs and started the coffee, threw her rain slicker on over her pajamas and ventured out onto the porch to retrieve the chimes which were by now, weeping in desperation, took them into the house and settled them ceremoniously on a hook near the front door to regain their composure before taking their sentinel post at the west end of the porch after the hurricane-force winds eased. Taking two cups of coffee upstairs, she settled back into The King, noticing Boyfriend sound asleep again, took two sips of her coffee and fell into a merciful, music-free sleep for two more hours.

Windchimes have their place and their time.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Here’s the thing about wind chimes: when I lived in Phoenix, I had these wind chimes; and the wind never blew so I never heard them; and I used to get mad because the wind never chimed. When I moved to Texas, the wind blew all the time; and the wind that never chimed kept me up at night. Once again: careful what you wish for. As a wise poet once said: “It’s not getting what you want; It’s wanting what you’ve got”.