Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bells are in the Air

So, we've ever-so-slowly started to ease out of Ethan's interest in cul-de-sacs and are now journeying to wonderful world of bells.

It all started on September 11, when at church our pastor spoke for a few minutes in honor of the 10th anniversary while from somewhere a bell started tolling in the background.

Ethan was fascinated. I was actually a little intrigued, wondering if in fact our church did have a bell up in the steeple that I just hadn't known about. At the end of the service Dan broke the news that indeed, the sound was not a real bell but a sound effect blasted through the sanctuary's sound system.

"It's not a real bell, just a sound effect," Ethan says at church every week.

We drive and drive and constantly I am peppered with the same questions.

1. Does that church have a bell?
2. Is it an upstairs bell or a downstairs bell?
3. Can I hear it?

One day during the power outage as we bombed around in the car we were gloriously blessed with the sound of bells ringing from a church in the town of East Granby. I rolled down the windows so both kids could hear. Ethan's smile couldn't have been bigger.

As we sat in the autumn sunshine, waiting at a red light and listening to the tinkle of those bells waft past us, I thought of what a beautiful sound it really was.

In Ireland, my neighbor who grew up there told me yesterday, the bells ring several times a day. The older generation, the Catholics who hear it know at that moment that they are to stop. The men remove their hats. They take a moment to pray.

But here in New England, in an area rife with small villages and town greens and brilliant white old Congregational churches, the bells don't often ring. Even when the bells ring, most of us are too busy to listen. Racing by in our sealed up cars, we don't even hear them.

Once again, Ethan's eyes and ears, his different perspective, have me noticing details I never would have otherwise.

We incorporate bells into play. A typical game these days is building a tower with blocks, placing a bell on top, and then having the Fisher Price people gather below to listen. One morning last week Ethan woke up and began performing a bell concert in his room. From below I heard something like this:

"Ring, ring, ring, ring, RING, RING, RING!!
Ding, ding, ring, ring, dingdingdingdingding, RING!!! RING!!!"

We've promised Ethan in the summer we will go up to Springfield and back to Dan's old church, a beautiful, imposing Methodist structure right on one of the main avenues in the city. Every summer they have a series of concerts in the early evening. People gather and sit on blankets to enjoy refreshments. Children run through the cool grass in their bare feet. Then, as the sun sinks lower in the sky, they listen to the bells play.

Christmas is coming. I'm going to hear "Silver Bells" on my XM radio holiday channel any minute now. Those jingle bells on the one-horse open sleigh are about to start jangling. I have the feeling we'll be visiting many, many Salvation Army bell ringers in front of stores before all is said and done.

1 comment:

K- floortime lite mama said...

what a beautiful post
I always say Temple Grandin's words ; "different not less"