Sounds to Soothe You

June 23rd, 2009

stamp rain

Normally, I love the sound of rain. It's soothing, especially when I'm falling asleep. But lately, we've been getting so much rain in New England that the sound isn't as pleasing.

But it got me thinking about the sounds that soothe, the sounds that bring back pleasant memories or associations, the sounds that are like home: a fire crackling, the sound of my cat's purring, walking through dry leaves in the fall, the sound of water filling a bathtub, crickets chirping on summer nights, a distant train rumbling by, the zip-zap of corduroy pants, a spoon tinkling against the edge of a coffee mug, the beep of the hubster's car locking when he gets home, the rush of the river.

What sounds are soothing to you? Can you bring them to mind? Try taking some deep breaths, closing your eyes, and see if you can bring some of your favorite soothing sounds up in your imagination. See if it relaxes you to simply imagine them.

Perhaps even the memory of these sounds (your mother's voice, the padding of stockinged feet on the stairs, the school bus driving past) will stir something in you. How would you bring these sounds to life in words or in art?

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests. -Pablo Neruda

29 Responses

I grew up near an airport. The planes landed over our home…and when I fly back home I always can see my house and the backyard. I used to lay in that backyard as a kid wondering if the people in the plane could see me. The first time I was in a plane I was 20 years old–and I can’t express how exciting it was for me to know that YES–people could see me laying there!!!

Too much information, huh?!?!…when all I wanted to say is that I love the sound of planes above.

Peace & Love.

Bill Evans, Portrait in Jazz

Introspective chicken soup.

I do miss the sound of my mothers voice. I love to hear the sound of my grandsons laughter. Tress rustling in the wind. Heart wrenching music when I want a good cry. The whistle of the teapot. The waves splashing on the shore.

The sound of my children breathing when they sleep. The sound of trees creaking in the wind. The quiet hush after a snowfall and the crunch of a passerby. Church bells on Sunday morning (do they do that any more?) A slow saxophone. Distant thunder. Waves. Cicadas frogs and crickets. My husband’s voice. And The sound of a jet overhead – I too grew up close to planes and I loved Connie’s anecdote.

Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
that I’ve really liked browsing your blog posts. In any case
I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

I grew up in a neighborhood that was close to a train track, so the sound of a train whistle makes me feel all relaxed and secure and like I’m safe and at home. My husbands voice and also when my husband plays his guitar ( like he’s doing right now)! I love the sound of a paint brush moving across paper or canvas and a whirring fan on a hot summer night. Crickets chirping at night and the soft swishing sound of wind blowing through tall grass. I was raised as a Catholic so those droning prayers in Latin can put me right to sleep!

What a great idea. I feel so calm and happy right now. Thanks for the exercise!

I also like it when raining, specially when it is getting colder. It’s the perfect time to sleep, and oh your painting is so cool too! I like it. =D

Travel and Living

Hmmmm… sounds that soothe me? The sound of my youngest grand-daughter greeting me at the door when I come it (”Grammy!”), the sound of the birds chirping outside on a spring morning, the sound of the coffee maker as it spurts and drips coffee into the pot first thing in the morning, the sound of rain on the roof, the sound of the ocean waves hitting the beach, so many things! Good to remember these things, actually!

can you get over this weather??? it’s (making me) a little crazy :) as i am awake alot in the middle of the night now, i am really feeling and enjoying the quiet solitude of when the world is asleep. i know very soon in these wee hours there will be new sounds, and i will love them as well. here’s hoping for some sunshine! happy summer, friend.

LOVE this piece! I find I can be soothed by a suprising array of sounds depending upon where I am, what time of day it is . . . the clothes dryer, the breeze through the forest, the gurgle of the creek . . .

Finally stopped raining here! So the sounds of the frogs in the field puddles…more like wetlands at this point…are an all time favorite of mine. They mean it is warm, window open at night in the country weather. I also love the love song of mourning doves and the deep breathing of a big dog sleeping in the same room with me. I do wish I could hear crashing waves everyday, not on a CD either…the real thing!

This one’s kind of odd. I love the sound of my dog sleeping. She sounds so content and her deep breathing is soothing.

Oh, Karen likes that too. I guess it’s not so odd.

I like the sound of my dog sleeping too! His little snores make me know he’s peaceful and happy.
I also like the sound of rain on a day where all I have to do is sip tea and read. The sound of snow falling is probably the most peaceful (since you have to be really still to hear it). I also like the sound of hammering, strange, but that’s how I make my art. The sounds of woodworking is also nice as long as it isn’t at the crack of dawn! The sound of a breeze in the trees is also quite soothing.
I think I have more smells associated with peacefulness than sounds, but there you go.

totally yummy quote! we’ve had lots of rain too…but I’m not tired of it at all.

When I lived at home, we were 5 houses from I-94. Growing up with that sound as you were going to bed was just like white noise to me. Once I moved to where I am now, it was almost too quiet to sleep.

I love the sound of hoses rustling in their stalls when they are eating. Oh, and the sound of their hooves on a road or walking through fall leaves while on the trail.

The sounds of the loons on the lake and the water sparkling like diamonds.

The sounds of a Native American flute from certain artists.

The chatter of a chipmunk.

I used to like the sound of rain, but having been through a tornado at home and another really bad storm while camping. It does the opposite for me now. :(

I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that come to mind right now.

The clinking of coffeemugs in a little cafe, the hissing sound of rain hitting the broiling pavement, the rattling of the chains on my wooden porch swing, the popping of firecrackers around the neighbourhoods near the 4th, and every single sound that has to do with fall. Oh yeah, and the crunchy-taffeta sounds of snow. When you squeeze a snowball between your mittens and it almost squeeks…

I too like the sound of trains. I lived near a train line growing up and I found it really soothing to hear the trains as a child. This next one might sound a little crazy, but when I was a kid I loved to swim backstroke, so I could hear nothing!! I still love to swim like that, I can really relax into the silence…I so don’t hear silence enough.

Fantastic posts by everyone it has been lovely trying to imagine the sounds.

I am with you, I love the rain but when it drones on and on you feel like nothing will ever get dry again, I am done. However,one soothing noise for me is the sound of summer crickets and cicadas. I lived in a valley area for 15 years and couldn’t wait till the warm weather brought the cricket chorus at night and the cicadas at mid-day in the heat. I have since moved to the coast of California and the spring soother is the frog chorus – they are silent now that summer has come. Not sure why.

Hands down…my favorite sound is cicadas. They are in full chorus now that it is summer. Though not as much as I’d like in my neighborhood.
Growing up my stepmom had a house in Corolla, NC…way before it was built up as it is today. Her house was nestled in the woods and I loved laying on the porch, reading and listening to them sing. Whenever I hear them it takes me straight to her, sandy beds, rusty water and all….it was heaven on earth.

Also glad to see that I am not the only ones who enjoy the sound of dogs sleeping. The little lip smacks, snoring and a yip or two during a dream…Sadie even wags her tail when she dreams so it thumps against the floor.

I love the sound of rain, too, especially thunderstorms (strange, I know, but I might even call thunder “soothing”). We’ve been having non-stop rain this past week in Munich, and although I’m starting to feel a little water-logged, I’m still happy to have the rain stick around for a while longer.

Oooh1 The sound of my dog sleeping, yep. He’s snoring away as I write this. Total relaxation and rhythmic contentment :)

And I love what you said about your husband’s car beep. Because, objectively? That beepy car noise? Totally annoying. But it’s all about the associations, right? ;) Mmmm, love.

Waves lapping against the shore.
Rain on the trailer roof
Jingling dog tags.

Soothing: the sound of a train in the distance, ocean waves and children laughing at shores edge while I sleep in the sun on the sand. Being able to hear only birds and my footsteps while hiking. Reiki Whale Song music. Silence….
Not so soothing, but I happen to love thunder, fireworks and the loud clashes and clangs of Bejeweled blitz…something about it is exciting ;-)

I love the sound of laughter – particularly my husband’s beautiful, hearty laugh and the gentle tinkle of my grand-daughter’s laugh.

There are so many sounds I love, I could end up with a long list! Thank you Leah for stimulating my mind and making me more aware of the sounds I love.

These are off the top of my head, I’ll think of a million more as I ponder your question:
Distant trains
Waves hitting the shore
Continuous background music on my mp3

Hi Leah,
Oh..sounds that are soul-soothing to me are sounds from my childhood, some of which are: the buzzing of the cycadas..takes me right back to playing hopscotch with neighborhood kids; the sound of my dad’s saw – he worked in his woodshop nearly every Saturday (and made lots of stuff for the house, flower boxes, adirondack chairs, picnic table). Connected with this is the smell of sawdust – takes me back in an instant; hearing my dad whistle for minutes on end – it was a natural art for him; and a sound you don’t hear much anymore is the way the telephone used to ring – that old fashioned “ring” from my childhood takes me right back there; as well as a spring or fall rain on the roof – and we’d have the screen door open so the breeze would blow through the house while we would all putter around. Beautiful memories. Thank you. Oh.. and thank you for introducing me to the flower, ranunculus. I looked it up on “images” – wow.. its is simply gor-geous!

The and only thing that sooths me, is the sound of a beautiful piano song. The way each note is distinct to each other just brings joy to me. Of course, I do not play piano, but it sooths me so much. And, it’s a good source for me, when I write my book. Ah, how I love it. But, when I have a headache, it doesn’t work; some notes are louder than others. But yeah, that’s my soothing sound.

Another sound that soothes me is the whistling tea kettle. I just made myself a cup of tea and smiled as I let the kettle linger on the burner…just so I could hear it whistle a little longer. I knew I had to come back and share this. To’s just not tea unless the kettle whistles.

I love the sounds of the city. My brother lives in central London in a basement flat. Two streets away is the tube (underground) and you can hear the trains at night echoing into the flat. I love this noise, it’s really soothing. I suppose its to do with the repetive noise they make but its also not loud. You can also hear the planes passing over but they are still high in the air at that point so you dont hear the noises they make when they reduce speed and put the flaps into motion.

Im currently studying architecture and for my final project I am desiging a centre for people with mental health problems. I am looking at noise as a healing process whether it is to do with the sounds of the city or eliminating it to create a quiet space or even using the sounds of nature such as rain on the roof or the sound of water etc. This is just part of the project but think it’s an interesting theme I would like to explore.
If anyone knows of any concrete research on noise and mental health in a positive sense, I would be really grateful for tips.

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