Have you ever heard your house creak and groan for no apparent reason? No, it’s not ghosts. It’s just that most houses are built largely of wood, and wood is sometimes called a “living thing,” even after it’s cut, dried and fastened in place. The reason is that wood changes size as the humidity and temperature changes. When things are fastened together, yet are changing size, something is bound to give a little, and when they do, we hear those creaks and groans. Wind can also move things around a little, too.
I remember coming home from work at four in the morning once and hearing someone walk the entire length of my upstairs. It sounded so convincing that I investigated with a shotgun. What caused it, though, was that my woodstove was running low and a cold front had just blown in and my house was shrinking. (Or maybe it was shivering!)
Another example was this morning, when I took the trash out to the road. I laid the two black bags near the back of the truck, so I could raise the tonneau and drop the tailgate. The bright sunshine caused immediate warming inside the bags and several plastic bottles popped and crackled as the air in them expanded.
There is another example of shifting things making noises that is a little more disconcerting to me. Almost every night, my entrance into bed begins a long, drawn out adjustment in my body. A day of compaction by gravity on my vertical frame is slowly released and my joints loosen up and expand lineally. Hip joints, shoulders, elbows, and seemingly every vertebra from backside to skull pops, clicks or clunks as it slides into new-found freedom.
The shifts are not only heard but felt, though it’s not what I’d call painful. This would be bad enough if it happened all at once, but it doesn’t. No, each joint moves only in its own good time. As a result, every few seconds for several minutes, I feel something move and hear it click or clunk into its new position. Sometimes, it actually interferes with me going to sleep for a while. I could be wrong, but I think it’s gotten worse now that I can’t afford the expensive supplements for my joints and since I’m on water pills.
I guess I shouldn’t complain. As with my aging house, I guess it’s a sign that I’m still standing, figuratively at least. © 2016