Monday, January 3, 2011

Ghosts Whistling in My House

I don't know what that sound is.  I've been hearing it all day.  For a while I thought it was a sound effect from the new computer game that Beloved Spouse has been playing in the bedroom.  Then I asked him to turn it off so I could import some pictures from the camera, and while I was looking at the computer, seeing that the game wasn't running, I heard it again.

It sounds like a faint, shrill whistle, as if someone a few doors down were using a high-speed drill or saw.  It lasts a couple of seconds, stops, then starts again.  At random intervals it falls silent for a few minutes or an hour, then it comes back.  It's been doing this all day.  It must be ghosts.

I'm perfectly comfortable with attributing unexplained occurrences to spirits.  Me, a 21st-century educated woman who has spent most of her career around scientists, engineers, and other techies, not to mention all those decades in the Catholic Church, where the only acceptable ghosts are of the Holy variety.  At best I should be a haughty skeptic when it comes to paranormal phenomena.  Yet I'm good with ghosts, both their existence in general and their likely presence in my life.  Why?  Well, why not?

My life has not exactly been characterized by a burning need to parse, to prove, to verify.  That doesn't signfiy a lack of intellectual curiosity; if anything, I think too damn much about nearly everything, from political philosophy to whether the name-brand detergent actually cleans better than the generic stuff.  I don't remember a time when my head wasn't crowded with thoughts, opinions, arguments, and conclusions.  What I don't have - and I don't think I'm alone in this - is a Truth beacon.  Whether I'm watching the news or gazing at my navel, I'm not inexorably drawn to a discrete destination, an Answer that precludes all others.  I'm fine with sometimes - or most times - stopping short of complete understanding or resolution.  A little bit of mystery, I find, leavens a whole lot of harsh realities.

I'm not going to argue semantics here.  What I might call faith or acceptance or equanimity, you might call superstition or ignorance or laziness.  We would both have a point.  And I'm the first to admit that I do have a tendency to stick my head in the sand when it comes to facing down difficult realities; I don't want to construct a rigorous budget that might reveal the gaping holes in my financial safety net, not when I can hide behind my belief that everything will somehow work out in the end.  On the other hand, you'll never convince me that even the coldest, driest economic theory isn't subject to a little bit of karma, luck, and cosmic wobble.  (And yes, I'm sure there are quantified economic variables to account for those very ideas, because some people can suck the life out of anything.)

Anyway, back to ghosts.  They've been following me around for years.  They walk, they talk, they make strange noises.  One time they shut my cat inside a kitchen cabinet that he couldn't possibly have shut himself into.  Another time the ghost of my grandfather talked to BelSpouse.  Things will get hidden and then reappear, unexplained sounds will be heard.  There are surely more rational - even more likely - explanations for such things than chalking them up to ghosts, which after all cannot be proven to exist.  But I don't need to prove they exist, or that they don't exist.  Sometimes life isn't about working out the answers.  It's about enjoying the questions.

1 comment:

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