Whispering Consolation



I could only just hear it. What is that? Shhhhh…I focused on quieting all that noise in my brain…

I was sitting alone on our deck in the pre-dawn dark. It was early Fall. The air was cool but not chill, not yet.

The trees were aflame with color, preparing to shed their leaves, preparing to sleep and survive the coming winter.

I closed my eyes to concentrate on listening to that sound, almost a murmur…


A couple of decades ago now, I suffered Sudden Sensorial Hearing Loss in my right ear. It didn’t hurt; it felt as if my ear was stopped up, like it sometimes does in pressurized cabins on planes, something that would fix itself by opening and stretching my jaw.

But it didn’t fix itself.

At first, the specialist thought I had a brain tumor. It was the most likely cause of something this sudden. While I never regained full hearing in my right ear, I was told – after testing – I had better hearing with one ear than most my age had with two.

After so many years, I had become accustomed to hearing what others might not.

The first trip my wife and I made following Covid’s assault was in October, 2021. We spent a week at Carmel-by-the-sea, alongside the Pacific Ocean on 17-Mile-Drive.

We’ve always been able to sit for hours, watching the restless, ceaseless waves batter the rocks that line that shore.

And the sea otters. There are lots of sea otters in Monterey Bay and along this section of the California coast.

Sometimes we listen to music we’ve brought with us. Sometimes we talk. Often we’re silent, contemplative, calm…

With age, I’ve come to believe I can sometimes hear whispering in those crashing waves.

It is always comforting.

And so, watching the waves do their relentless work, I finally understood what I had heard sitting outside on my deck on that Fall day, in the stillness of pre-dawn.

It wasn’t the wind. It wasn’t something distant. It was close, right there…

It was the voice of endless time, whispering to the trees and the leaves they carry, not to worry, not to be anxious about what was happening to them.

It was whispering consolation, saying, “Fear not. Rest. I’ll awaken you soon.”

Shhhh… Quiet your inner voice.

Can you hear it too?