Alarming noises if you are not used to them, but if you are familiar, they are of great reassurance. In fact, it is more disquieting to not hear them.
This is the sound of heat.
It starts in shivery darkness when the house is shrouded in sleep. Perhaps its echo drifts into the fuzzy recesses of your slumber. But if you know the sounds, they don’t wake you because they are part of the everyday noises of home. You might even gauge the time of early morning by them if you happen to be awake already, and the slightest increase in room temperature helps you with that estimate too, without even opening your eyes or rising from bed to look.
“…Well, the heat is on….. it should be nearly time to get up…”
With the pings and dings comes comfortable certitude that the plumbing is working today and we have heat. Ours is a typical steam system dating back to 1931 – the year our house was built. Living here for as long as we have enkindles an appreciation for its appropriately named receptacles; our radiators really do radiate. From the boiler to the kitchen, then upstairs to the hallway and bathroom, through the bedrooms, back downstairs to the living room, diningroom, and returning to the basement – they apportion one beautifully simple system of warmth. There are few things as nice as sitting at the breakfast table on a cold winter morning with your leg against that blessed winter commodity as it rises through the house with the dawning hours.
Today, there was no ping, ding, or hiss.
That’s not good.
I better check the boiler.
But then – no.
I know what this is.
Today is a marker – a delineation of sorts. Today is the first day in five months that the morning house warm enough for the heat to not go on.
We’re here again.
We have come around to spring in the northeast, and not only is the new season upon us, but it is starting to feel like spring, and sound that way, too.
Oh sure – there will be a few more percussive mornings yet.
But they will diminish as our days grow long,
and more and more, we’ll turn outside for that contented feeling of
No pings or dings,
but wonderfully reassuring – just the same.