Or as Elmer Fudd said, “Be vewy, vewy kwiet.”
I was going to title this piece ” Sounds of Silence” but then I would probably owe Paul Simon 3 cents for using his already copyrighted song title although I am not using it for personal profit.
I could have titled the piece ” In My Solitude” but I would have to write a check to the Duke Ellington estate.
I live in a neighborhood where traffic varies from bustling to meandering to not at all. That being said the noise level generated by cars, trucks and busses can sometimes seem annoying and overwhelming, intrusive and too much especially when a Harley roars past at midnight on a hot July night.
I was going to write ” Hot August Night” but then I would owe Neil Diamond money.
The point here is neighborhood noise, traffic, lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers and other gas powered implements of garden maintenance and upkeep is something we’re stuck with as we have heaped these aural indignities upon ourselves. I use an electric mower so I’m half guilty of being a noise merchant.
When I was a kid we pushed the mowers and swept up the leaves. Now everyone needs horsepower. Noisy horsepower at that.
Earlier this week there was marked lack of traffic and since it was raining a marked lack of power lawn mowers. In other words it was very, very quiet – See Elmer Fudd above.
And so the ambient noise that had somehow become reassuring was all but absent as though there were no people around anywhere within earshot. And that was not reassuring.
The din of cars, mowers, occasional helicopters reminds me there are people somewhere nearby.
When it’s quiet, like they say in the old western movies,” It’s too quiet out there, I don’t like it,” part of me tends to agree.
The place was really quiet back in March and April and into May. We all know why. Then the traffic returned along with speeding, driving while texting and running red lights.
I’ve been to places where the lack of sound, the silence is itself a sound. I have camped in the woods and visited friends who live near Nowheresville and it gets really quiet out there.
It takes me a while to get used to hearing nothing. My nervous system is accustomed to being stimulated by the low hum of something making noise somewhere.
At first I really don’t like it but as my brain starts to adapt to the sounds of silence (sorry Paul) I can always feel a sense of relief and I wonder what it was like when it was always this quiet.
Were people less tense? Was peace of mind really achievable?
They say that it you are really at peace with yourself you can hear corn grow on a hot July night. That takes introspection and quiet time and a whole new level of relaxation.
So which is it? The reassuring hum of machines or the reassuring sound of nothing?
I think nothing beats something hands down but it’s been so long since any of us have really heard nothing we don’t know what nothing or silence really sounds like. Our ears seem to need to be constantly filled. In most cases they get assaulted and our stress level goes up and up.
I mentioned to friend today that I found spot to run so far from everything that I only hear my feet hitting the ground and my breath. That’s it.
It’s a brief respite but some day I would like to live where the lack of sound is it’s own sound.
Where the night sky is dark and stars are visible by the thousands.
Maybe the words of the words of the prophets ARE written on the subway walls and tenement halls.
If you see Paul Simon tell him I owe him a buck.