Walking in the Autumn

One thing I love about cooler temperatures, is that when “Chloe takes me for a walk” I can do so – HEARING. I’ll probably get “wrung out to dry” for this, but I do not usually exercise with my CI processor on my head. It’s not that I CANNOT, but more about a choice I made. I know people who run races with their cochlear implant! When I use to go to the gym, I would lift weights with my CI and my hearing “intact”. I don’t have a gym membership anymore, so my primary means of exercise is walking.

This summer I made the choice to walk in the cool of the evening without my cochlear implant. It is “wicked hot” here in Maryland on summer evenings, and I tend to perspire a lot. Oh gee… that’s stretching it a bit, because I honestly? I sweat! I walk “very fast”, much to the delight of my beloved assistance hound. It’s just short of a “jog” and because I move at a pretty good clip, I tend to perspire a great deal. I got tired of having to stick my CI in the “Dry ‘n Store” when I got home. After all, when I arrive back home I’m walking into a house full of people I care about. I want to hear them and interact with them. That doesn’t really happen if I have to go “deaf” upon my return from a walk!

However, it looks like cooler temperatures are here to stay for the season. (Hope I don’t jinx that!). One thing I love about the fall, winter, and early spring is being able to walk with my CI on and “working” since I do not perspire as much. It’s especially fun when walking for the first time in a long time WITH SOUND. I had forgotten that Chloe’s feet can actually be heard on the sidewalk. The sound of the breeze in the branches above the sidewalk sounds like music to these ears! Squirrels scamper about and “fuss at me” from lower branches of the trees as I pass. Those dogs we always see in fenced yards that either greet with a friendly bark and wag, or snarl/bark with a territorial warning, each have a unique sound, tone and “voice”!

I can hear the leaves skitter on the sidewalk in front of me as the breeze picks a few up and scatters them ahead. I can hear the distant traffic, occasional siren, or overhead jet… these peripheral sounds that make up the noisy world in which we live. Some of the “pressure is off” in walking with sound. I don’t have to concentrate so intently on the direction of Chloe’s attention, or worry about unheard traffic as I cross streets.

I think Chloe enjoys our walks more because I actually talk to her more. Isn’t that strange? I wonder why my voice tends to go SILENT when I cannot hear? I’m much more “chatty” as we walk along when I can hear the world around us. I realized I must talk infrequently when I took note that Chloe would turn her head to look at me. I realized she was startled to hear me talk! (I’ll have to make a better effort next summer of talking even when ‘deaf’)

In anticipation of winter, I look forward to hearing my boots on icy sidewalks and the sound of skeletal branches click-clacking in the cold wind!

Seasons of Life

Re-adjusting to hearing while walking at night brought a reminder of a parallel I’m currently experiencing. I’m at a “new place” in my life. At the age of 44, I have a child living on a college campus away from home. The “baby’ of our family is almost twenty and as a young man has really begun asserting some independence. (This is a good thing… though hard to adjust to not being needed like I was!) I’m in my last semester of school and feel the pressure of finding more part-time work come January!

It’s funny how different seasons in life we may “hear” differently. Specifically in hearing God, this often changes depending on the season of life one finds themselves living. At times, hearing Him is by choice… after all, He’s never the One who “leaves” or temporarily disconnects with us. Much like the choice to deliberately not wear my CI, I can choose to disconnect with God. It has happened in times of anger, depression, and even when everything was going “swell”.

It’s not that I’m coming back to the place of a LOUDER relationship with God. However, this season of my life I have found that I am having to lean more heavily on Him and on the power of our relationship. I guess you could say that right now, I really need God in my life… in an ever-present, constant sort of “coil connected to my head” kind of way! I have numerous little “worries” and concerns that seem to weigh heavily on my heart and mind. It’s just a season I’m going through. I’m thankful I’ve deliberately and consciously chosen to listen more carefully to God during this time.

Denise Portis

© 2010 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

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One thought on “Walking in the Autumn

  1. Denise, as a hearing intact person, I often take the sounds of a walk for granted. I loved your description of the sounds of a walk. A good reminder for me to listen to the noises of the everyday. Thanks!

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