Senses Stirred


Sharing Stories
May 26, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.
Baby wolf playing in the dirt with Mom. No chocolates for dogs, wolves, or any canines.
Baby wolf playing in the dirt with Mom. No chocolates for dogs, wolves, or any canines. April Ryan


I recently watched the inspiring movie Forrest Gump on TV late one night. Suddenly, I realized it has been thirty years since the first time I saw him sitting on a bench, sharing his mama’s wisdom, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” I can’t count the times I bought chocolates with a sly smile, inspired to taste life in the assortment.

I spent hours, days, and weeks trying to think about something inspiring. Maybe it’s the changing season, or upside-down politics, or the world in turmoil, making inspiration seem as far away as the moon. An inspiring person, place, or thing wasn’t standing out in the spotlight of my mind.

On one late night tv program, I heard a choir singing. I don’t remember the song, but I do recall the harmony of the singers and the variety of every solo voice’s emotions. The chorus of singers gave me an “aha” moment. I’m in a group of women that gather together in verbal harmony, sharing inspiring bits and pieces of our lifetime stories, growing into an encouraging chorus backing each solo. Driving home after time with our writing group, I always feel inspired. Each monthly event is as memorable as going to a great concert, movie, or play.

Music is inspiring. I do wonder why I get tears in my eyes when I hear a moving opera sung. How does that happen when I don’t know the language or understand what the song is about, but tears drop down my cheeks to the beats of the orchestra as voices sing me to a new world. Even songs in English, if a word is held long, going low to high, the right note makes my eyes get uncontrollably watery.

Instruments also inspire my teary responses: hearing the sound of a bagpipe, the soft whisper from a saxophone, beating of a bass drum, music played passing on inspiring rhythms through time. Maybe my musical tears are from a long forgotten primal instinct when humans began communicating by singing like birds, beating melodic messages on tree trunks, and gathering around the snap, crackle, and pop of a burning fire, inspiring conversation.

Are howling wolves during a full moon an ancient musical message sung to the cosmos, inspiring a forlorn call, “This is the center of the universe, welcome to this sweet earth.” Am I the one-note lone wolf looking for friendship, or a new tasty box of chocolates?

April Ryan is a longtime friend of Northwest Prime Time and Ariele and a longtime writer of life stories and poems.

SHARING STORIES is a weekly column for and about the 50 plus crowd living in the Puget Sound region. Send your stories and photos to Tell local or personal stories; discuss concerns around aging and other issues; share solutions, good luck, and reasons to celebrate; poems are fine too. Pieces may be edited or excerpted. We reserve the right to select among pieces. Photos are always a plus and a one-sentence bio is requested (where you live, maybe age or career, retired status, etc.).

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