You Sound Like the Wilderness
by Laura Green
Sometimes it’s clear to me that everything is sound. I can hear it all together. Notes rise up but never out of it. I can listen to a single line and move with it, particularly, but always there’s the bigger sound. The whole sound.
I don’t know how to talk about it, even though I think it’s a common experience. I get self-conscious when I try. That’s why I thought I’d show you this picture.
I love this picture. Can you see it, here? This is what I mean - when you feel like this: resonant and loose and bright. Fully yourself and completely absorbed.
For me this sound is strongest in the wilderness - when I’m in the woods, or by the ocean. It comes out like animals come out when you stop moving. One at a time, then everywhere at once. Standing in tall grass, any kind of field - sort of easy and vast and full.
When do you hear it? Maybe when you’re running? Or drawing? Or doing yoga or surgery? For me, needle trees are completely reliable. It’s always there under needle trees. I feel held in it; like I couldn’t possibly be anxious, I wouldn’t dream of struggling. The thought of controlling it doesn’t even come up. I never feel lost.
Sometimes I can’t hear it.
I’ve learned to listen, a lot of the time, for certain sounds to the exclusion of others. Or maybe I only listen with certain parts of my brain. I’ve layered single, loud notes on top of the big, whole sound and forgotten how to hear past them.
It’s like I’m always in a meadow but most of the time I’m on my cell phone in the meadow (this is a metaphor but also, often, sadly, it’s not). I want to listen to the meadow’s sounds, but what if I miss the thing my cell phone’s telling me? It’s a reasonable fear - my cell phone tells me important things - but I think I also need that complex, layered, unpredictable, perfectly orchestrated sound. I need to tune myself to it physically and mentally - spiritually - if I want to feel happy. Deeply happy.
But here’s what I really want to tell you: It’s always there when I’m massaging you. That’s why I love my job so much. It’s what I miss the most. The music of it - your line of sound with my line of sound in the big, whole sound. It’s like drinking water. Simple and quenching and necessary.
It’s not something I’d write on a website (obviously). I’d say things about trigger points and scalenes; and that’s true, too - fascia and adhesions and scar-y stuck places - but those are just the things that shape the sound. They’re useful because we can describe them and map their changes, but they don’t feel like the actual stuff of you, to me. The actual stuff is much more fluid and shimmering and powerful. And big, bigger than the outline of your teres major. Bigger than any outline you could imagine. Almost impossible to map. Completely absorbing. Totally integrated.
I want you to know about it right now, because things are stressful and living in a body might feel dangerous and tight and not so great. So, even though I don’t know how to talk about it, I just want to say: you sound like a meadow.
Or a riverbank or a cave in the summer, you’re different all the time. With some of you I feel like I can hear (and I’ll just say this fast because, I mean, I’m a Bostonian after all, and this is sports massage, and it all seems so woo-woo but…) all of history. Ancient, ancient music. And sometimes it takes time to find my way to it. And sometimes it’s more quiet - but every single time it’s there. And lovely. And just - I want you to know it.
I mean - I can’t prove it, but it’s completely real. As real as anything could be. So, maybe just believe it, if you want. As you’re watching the news or cooking with your family, just know: you have a sound. In addition to everything else - organs and fluids and bank accounts and chemistry – you have a sound. It’s resonant, entirely connected to the sound of everything, and quite, quite lovely.
You have a sound. To me, you sound like the wilderness.