On Enticing a Murmur

Sometimes a murmur comes to me almost fully formed. More often it is enticed by an overheard scrap of conversation, or a painting, or a word, or two: random words, weird words, archaic words, foreign words. Mid murmur my burrow is often strewn with open dictionaries, glossaries, lexicons, Dudens, larousses, etymologies. Or it may appear spectre-like while I am rummaging in the cellar where strange, half-remembered objects turn up in unexpected places.

At other times no murmur comes at all. There is no tickle in the snout as there might be were a sneeze to announce itself. There is no humming of the wires anticipating a telegraph or cloud that might augur rain. The murmur is nowhere within cooee. In my bleakest moments I wonder whether the murmur has wrung itself dry.

I go to my desk, sharpen my quill, grit my teeth – grind them even – with concentration. My paws are clenched with effort, a furrow of pelt has can be discerned along my scowl-line.

Please, I implore the murmur, please, please. Come ON, I urge, the ticking weight of a clock heavy on my shoulders. I fall to my knees in supplication. And when, finally, I feel as if I have exhausted all deities I struggle upright again.

Nothing. Nichts. Nada.

I pout. Blasted murmur. Where are you when I need you.

I stomp about a bit and hmmph.

Night falls. I tell myself, there must be a murmur somewhere.

Is it possible that it is not the murmur that is at fault. Maybe it had to leave the molebody to survive. Could it be that during the light, bright hot summer I have not provided the fertile ground a murmur needs in order to thrive.

There has to be a lightness of ear, of touch, of ear. It won’t do to look too hard, try too hard, want too hard. For once I have set that looking, trying, wanting too hard in motion I have the tenacity, less of a mole than of a terrier. I will clutch with such desperation at an idea that when the time comes to play with it I find I have throttled it with my bare paws.

If I am not being tenacious I lurch into the opposite extreme and find myself fidgeting. Almost any kind of distraction will do: worry distractions that roam pointlessly between the sky falling in and whether I will miss the post, or mind-numbing distractions like puzzles or checking the letter-box or adjusting my chair. The only distractions that work are those expeditionary ones that flow from an engaged mind.

I have to remove the ‘I’ for a murmur to be enticed. If a patience can be cultivated, a sense of timelessness, a murmur might nibble, and once it has nibbled only gentle attentiveness will allow it to flourish.

The equinox has come, the nights are longer, the air is cooler. I can feel in my mole-bones that the time for murmuring is returning.


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