02 January 2010

Onomatopoetry: the Sounds of Silence

31 Dec 20009 - New Year's Eve - 12 km - 1 h. 6 min 18 - 12 km

Years ago I acquired a superstition: on the last day of the year you must do at least a little bit of what you wish to do successfully in the next year. I want to write and be published - the best human activity that makes me happy, second, probably, only to running with dogs (and one other thing).

So early in the morning I sit down and write a few hundred words. Then I publish an article I wrote earlier on my books blog, mooch about for a bit - and go for a run. I want to carry on running,  so I must run on the last day of the year too.

The day is perfect. It's very quiet, misty and mild. The kind of white winter quietness that makes all sounds muffled and soft. Silent sounds.

It feels  so good I choose the longer of my several circuits. There is a long steep rise in the woods. Far behind a lonely farmer struggles uphill in his rickety tractor pulling a trailer heavily loaded with the smelly mixture of manure and straw. At the top of the hill, when the road levels, he catches up with me and the dogs. We wave to each other, he turns into a field and I carry on, listening to the silence.

The road is wet and, in places, muddy. I try to separate the sounds of silence. After a while I can hear the sound of dogs paws and my trainers. Sounds, you can describe them in many different ways. Words imitating sounds are called onomatopoeia (onomatopoeic or onomatopoetic).

And there we go without stopping in the woods on a winter morning, dogs going

chompety-tap, tappety-chomp, 
chomp-chomp, tap-tap

and me going

chompety-clop, cloppety-chomp, 
chomp-chomp, clop-clop.

1 comment:

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