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The first spring night I leave the window open and the chorus of peeper-toads lulls me to sleep. The sound of plows on the road below, scraping by the end of the driveway, lights bouncing off the trees. The coyote pups in spring, yipping and crying their joy on the ledges above. The insistent call of the raven careening through the tree tops, sailing down past me on invisible drafts.

I have traded the noise of urban life – car alarms and trash trucks, conversations not meant for my ears, distant sirens signaling someone’s misfortune – for the hum of the bees when I knock on their hive, coffee cup in hand, as the sun slowly climbs over the tree tops.

I’m to be forgiven if I become irritated by the neighbor who insistently calls his dogs or the rumble of a truck traveling too fast down my country road. Noise will fill your senses. There is a fine line between NOISE and noise. The definition of sound changes with the environment. A gentle cello solo  is simply “background noise” to another. The twangy, refrain of a county song played too loud and long is NOISE  to my audio sense.

To a dog, the irritating Bing of a text message is enough to set off a barking spree. Not sure why it irritates so much but mine is not alone in this attitude. They tend to hear things we don’t register, such as someone arriving at the door long before I am aware. This results in more NOISE as said dog sets off with a roar to warn the intruder. The gentle, rumbling snore of the same dog is noise to gladden my heart.

The clunk of the refrigerator, the thump of the furnace, or the whir of the ceiling fan creep into my consciousness. But one becomes used to certain sounds that begin as a racket. I spent a year in Southern Illinois, in a small town crisscrossed with train tracks. The closest rail sent plates rattling on the shelves as the locomotive lumbered by. In time, I no longer heard it except to faintly note the time, based on its arrival.

It’s the little noises that herald nature; the splatter of rain on a hot dusty day, the breeze through the pines on a warm afternoon, wind chimes in a faint breeze – these resonate.

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11 comments on “Noise

  1. Doppleganger says:

    Lovely. How about a post inviting your readers to write their “Favorite Noise”? Like laughter, or your snoring dog…. might be really interesting, they could add urban, rural, suburban so it all makes sense… Interesting the ping of a text starts the dogs barking! How funny! Is it a Cat hissing or something? LOL.

    1. Great idea to invite others to share their favorite noise! The test bing is just that, a little bing that seems to be irritating to a dog’s ears… thanks Doppleganger!!

  2. Touring NH says:

    I agree there are different degrees of noise. Right now, the generator is humming. When I turn it off and return to no electricity, it makes me realized what an intrusive noise it is. I can deal with the noise long enough to charge all my devices, make a fresh pot of coffee and heat up my breakfast. Then it is peaceful silence out here in the desert.

    1. What about the songs of the coyotes, or the snuffling of the Havalina? You must have lots of different noise where you are now!

      1. Touring NH says:

        I have only seen one coyote and haven’t heard them at all 😦 Luckily neither I nor the dogs have encountered any havelina! I’d love to see one from a distance, but not up close. I did get to see some wild horses and a golden eagle the other day.

  3. julieallyn says:

    Beautiful!!! I loved this, your descriptions so real and clear and TRUE. Bravo!!!

    1. Thank you! Your praise is beautiful “noise” to my eyes…

  4. I heard the sound of melting snow and ice today and that was the best music I’ve heard in a long time!

    1. Now there is a “noise” I can appreciate!!

  5. Marie Keates says:

    Living in the city, even thought I’m in the suburbs I guess you would find it very noisy. As I write ive just heard the gentle hum of a plane pass overhead. We have a busy road close to our house and that gives us a gentle rumble interspersed with the odd siren. There is never really silence but we don’t notice the sounds because they’re always there. My favourite is probably the birds I can hear singing in the garden now as the day breaks.

    1. Thanks Marie. Isn’t it funny how you can get used to “noises” that are all around and never really hear them until you stop and focus?

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