Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Whistling. We must preserve the whistle.

My father whistled. I remember his whistle, musical, on pitch, pleasing to hear.  Only much later upon reflection did I associate his whistle with his temperament and his state of mind. Dad whistled most of the time, and he was predictably content. Only on the rare occasion when life was stress-filled, was there a conspicuous absence of the whistle.

I remember learning to whistle as a boy and the habit, I prefer to call it the ability, is identified with me almost as much as with my father. It is a virtual compulsion, an addiction perhaps. I whistle when I am feeling positive and comfortable and I also feel well when I whistle. Whistling is an expression of pleasure with life and how I relate at the moment to my place in the world.

My brother Murray similarly displays the aptitude. It requires no external stimuli but a radio, CD or iPod will certainly inspire the whistle.  When Murray and I have enjoyed the privilege of painting together, we are invariably engaged in a symphonic duet.

I do not otherwise hear much whistling around me. People seldom whistle. That’s an indicator I believe of the quality of life and how it is being experienced within this information laden, distracted, digitized, driven and frenetic world.  So I am determined to foster the art of the whistle with my grandchildren. Each of my grandchildren has come to me at one time or another to demonstrate with pride an ability to generate a sound with curled tongue, over teeth and through pursed lips. Last night I asked Kale and Kadence to let me hear them whistle. Even with a missing front tooth Kale could do an abbreviated scale.  Certainly there are assorted and significant contributors to life fulfillment but the whistle is still one of the most personal and sincere confirmations of peace within.  Listen for the whistle.  

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