I have lived in this house for thirty-five years. This morning when I heard the familiar sound of the front door closing, I was flooded with feelings of contentment and safety. I would say flooded with joy, but what does that really mean?
Can I describe the rattle bang sound? First of all, the bang was not an angry or aggressive bang, simply the sound of closure; wood meets wood as the door is received by the door frame. There is a rattle in the mix, slight, but noticeable to the careful ear. The panel of windowpanes, inserted for winter into the outer door – known seasonally as a screen door or a storm door – has its own particular sound. Again, wood meets wood and the rattling, receiving sounds merge like instruments in an orchestra. Their pitches are different.
They are also blended by the alchemy of air being compressed as the atmosphere inside the house is separated from the air of the wide world outside. And finally, if there can be a finally in this tonal moment, there is the drift of these sounds, up through the stairwell to the third floor.
All the reading I have done about emotions and the brain instructs me that the surge of good feeling I experience is the result of chemicals (hormones) released in my body when my brain is triggered by a stimulus, in this case, the sounds. That is a crude description, but I’m trying to say that I know this is mechanical – cause and response. I know, but old as I am, a rush of good feelings still seems almost magical to me. ‘Where did that come from?’ I wonder. Even as I analyze the sounds, it is the ‘feel good-ness’ of the moment that lingers.
I have spent most of my life in this house. Far more than in my childhood home. Thousands of days, thousands of mornings and today I noticed my emotional response to the sounds of the front door closing.
PS: I love old doorknobs…