The sound of water
posted 14 Jun 2019 by Ruby
The past week or so, I’ve been stuck at home recovering from surgery. One of the features I’ve discovered that I really like on my Google Home is that I can tell it to “play nature sounds.” These are pretty relaxing on their own, and contain some of the typical things like babbling brooks and thunderstorms. What I wasn’t expecting was that these sounds would trigger a memory for me.
When I was really young (like 5 or 6?), I used to spend time at my cousins’ house every once in a while, playing with them and having sleepovers. They were close to me in age, so we got along really well. It was a welcome reprieve, since at home my brother was a good six years older than me, and he mostly tried to pretend I didn’t exist (except for the times when he bullied me instead). My uncle had an aquarium in his living room. I don’t really remember much about it or even what kind of fish were in it. But I do remember distinctly the sound the water pump made, the constant trickle of water cycling in the glass tank.
One of the babbling brook sounds that my Google Home makes is nearly identical to the sound of that water pump. When I listen to it at night while I’m trying to fall asleep, I’m taken back to that time when I was a kid, sleeping in the living room with the aquarium as the only sound. I’m taken back to that short time when I got a trip away from my own home, away from my brother who bullied me and my parents who were arguing all the time. It’s a weird zen moment that brings me peace even now as an adult, nearly forty years later.
It amazes me how something as simple as a sound can trigger so many memories and feelings.