FROM THE MOST DISTANT TIMETHE EMPEROR WU OF HAN
Majestic, from the most distant time,
The sun rises and sets.
Time passes and men cannot stop it.
The four seasons serve them,
But do not belong to them.
The years flow like water.
Everything passes away before my eyes.
Sunday blurs into memory as I doze in the lingering heat, and that last, deep blue glow vanishes from the western sky. A dog barks. Hearing a dog bark for no apparent reason, particularly at the end of the day, fills me with a sense of melancholy. This has been true for as long as I can remember. Maybe it is the message the dog intends. Be sad for me. I'm a dog. I'm alone. Or maybe it is some lost memory of childhood, some moment evoked but not fully recalled.
All I know is that, for me, the sound of a dog barking carries a sense of isolation, and a vague uneasiness. Other distant sounds are likely to do this, but none so intensely as a dog's bark. Of the senses that work at a distance, I think that smell is the sense most likely to provoke memory, sight is the sense most likely to provoke thought, and hearing is the sense most likely to provoke emotion. The lovely evening sky, the scent of jasmine in the cooling air- whatever thoughts and memories they called forth were lost when that dog barked. Sound has power.