The word “cacophony” (pronounced ‘ka-cough-any’) means “harsh” or “dissonant” or “jarring.” Just imagine a metal trash can filled with old silverware, tin cans and jingle bells falling down several flights of stairs. The sound it made would be pure cacophony.
Yesterday the Crankee Yankee and I had the great privilege of attending Ava’s (our oldest granddaughter) graduation from kindergarten. She and all her friends wore their black felt mortarboards proudly, and they all accepted their diplomas to rounds of applause and cheers.
Ava, being the fashionista she is, wore a long fluttery dress in pink and purple and sported a pair of sparkly, strappy purple kitten heels. (Honestly, if I could have found a pair like them in my size, I’d have bought them in a New York minute; they were that cute.)
Once the formalities were over, the sound of excited children and adults filled the air. There were happy screeches, hugs given and received, gifts presented and exclaimed over, and constant excited chatter. Now that’s a good example of cacophony.
We went out to lunch to celebrate, and one of Ava’s school friends and her family were also there. So both girls sat at the counter, twirling their seats and chattering and laughing together. That’s another good example of cacophony.
After lunch, we went back to Ava’s house to have coffee and chat. Now Ava’s dad has a big farm with sheep, yaks, chickens, guinea hens, geese, ducks, and rabbits. There are also two corgis, Jack and Ross, and a huge Kangal, Sabannah (this is a dog as big as a pony). MCat, the tiger cat, wisely keeps to herself in the house.
As you approach the house, there is honking, clucking, crowing, cackling, quacking, mooing, baa-ing and barking. Add to that Ava’s happy singing and yelling, and you have true cacophony. This version of it is exactly what it sounds like; loud, happy, attention-seeking, “listen to me!” noise.
My step-daughter gave this type of cacophony a name that says it all about this wild and happy and life-affirming noise: “kaka-phony” (pronounced “kak-a-phony”). It is different from plain old cacophony in that it makes you laugh instead of covering your ears. It means that all is well, everyone’s healthy and happy, and that there is so much to celebrate each day.
These are the sounds that let you know that life is loud and good; that it is composed of laughter and shouting and cheering and all those lively barnyard conversations. “Kakophony” is life in its loudest and loveliest form.
May we all have plenty of kakaphony in our lives!