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.