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I jolted awake around 3:30 A.M. with this dream:

Word had gotten around that I was actually dying. My doorbell rang. My phone rang. Others knocked on the opened front door and came in and made their way to my bedroom, already filled with others paying their last respects. I’m sitting up in my full bed, unsupported, wearing a T-shirt, my forearms resting on the covers. Shortness of breath prevents me from speaking clearly. My words are muddled.

This startling dream gave me considerable pause: the ravages of death in my body, witnessed by others. Other dreams have suggested end-of-life issues, each with its own lesson, but none this specific.

My first response to this morning’s dream was repulsion toward the crowds filling my bungalow and their raucous noise. Seated atop my full bed, however, you would never have known: I was all smiles and gratitude toward my well-wishers, despite shortness of breath and muddled words.

I’ve always envisioned my serene passing like a beam of sunlight slowly opening onto vistas of Quiet Beauty.

Yet, no indications of physical death appear imminent today. In view of my recent shift—letting death have its will in my body, when and how it will—this morning’s dream seems more of a call for a deeper stillness in my psyche, for a more mindful maintenance of my boundaries in the daylight world, and for communion with each remaining life breath in the time allotted me.

My gratitude for the opportunity to prepare for the greatest experience of this life knows no bounds—to enflower it with full-blown white roses that never fade.

Microwaves hum. Planes and cars hum. Generators hum—humming fills worlds of science, electronics, entertainment, and finance, often wall-papering the background of whatever draws our attention. Rare is silence sought after.

Yet, humming is integral to our humanness and still appears within classical music, jazz, and R&B. Their listeners, in search of distraction from spine-binding tensions, flock to venues hosting such events and pay handsomely. I was among them.

Somewhere within my long labyrinthine life, I stopped humming—Too many rules and regulations of adulthood had squelched its practice and cramped my imagination. True, classical music did quiet much of the turmoil, but as ovations of audiences subsided, hollow voices returned, until the next concert, with its reprieve. I’d also considered eastern chants, but never practiced them—too taxing upon my breathing. 

However, an overview of The Humming Effect – Sound Healing for Health and Happiness (2017) by Jonathan Goldman and Andi Goldman produces valuable suggestions for a more responsive care of our body-mind-spirit. Their experience convinced them that few realize the healing properties of humming: Engaged in consciously, their fruit is exponential: physically, humming raises oxygen in the cells, lymphatic assimilation, and levels of melatonin; it lowers stress and blood pressure and heart rates. 

Spiritually, humming interfaces with the Sacred in our depths and provides support and direction in the midst of trekking the impossible. It keeps in mind our immortal destiny and who we really are. Such was the experience of death camp survivors in the last century.

Mentally and emotionally, humming empowers us to alter attitudes and moods and concentrate on the present experience, with its new learning. Humming is also fun. 

And in my present circumstance, I‘ve still much to learn in the ensuing silence…

The green pickup truck with the yellow logo—Fred M. Luth – Family Owned Contractors Since 1920—parked in our neighborhood, the harbinger of the long awaited replacement of our storm sewer. For a month, preparations had been underway: Surveyor crews with hard hats had spray-painted red and orange numbers on our streets, utilities had flagged underground lines, and teams of workers drilled holes in the street, spray-painted another set of measurements, before filling the holes with asphalt.

Next came flatbed trucks delivering greenish plastic pipes stacked, pyramid-style, along sides of the streets, then, parts of four concrete sewers along the sidewalks, then, a huge rectangular steel frame upon the street. Next, dump trucks deposited a mountain of rocks on an adjoining street. The site seemed ready.

Last Monday, the green pickup truck with the yellow logo returned. It was time.  Licensed engineers and drain layers began operating the CAT backhoe and the crawler crane, and with them, ripping, pounding, crunching, and rasping noises: Always an issue with me, I wondered how I would manage, being housebound.

The drilling began next to my house. More significant than the noise, however, was the crawling crane slicing foot-length concrete like a pasta cutter, doughy ribbons. After the drill bit had been changed for the bucket, the crawling crane scooped up the broken concrete and dirt into waiting dump trucks and hauled them away.  

I could go on and on about the week’s experience, ending with the installation of one of the storm sewers. Yes, the noise was significant, but the camaraderie, the laughter, the expertise of the crew absorbed me more. Many tense moments, repetition of measurements, and reworking adhesive materials evidenced critical teamwork, in hold-your-breath procedures.

The crew will return, weather permitting, but their necessary noise will be further down the street. As an aside, I did pray for their protection.

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