Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Eye of the Storm

My neighborhood is not a quiet place. In fact, it's a rather noisy suburb. The neighbor to my left rides a Harley, the neighbor to my right mows his lawn more than is probably necessary, and the neighbors adjacent to my backyard all own at least one rather vocal dog. My own family has three (sometimes four) dogs of our own to join into the chorus, my mother never learned to use an "inside voice" and my brother has to practice the electric guitar if he's ever going to get any good. It is therefore safe for one to assume that quiet time at my house is a very rare thing. Because it is. And that's too bad.

So in an attempt to find some sort of sonic solace, some reprieve from the constant audio stimulation provided by my "low-fi" neighborhood, I wake up very early on Sundays. Every Sunday morning I take a long walk just as the sun comes up and make my way down an old street that was probably, at one time, the only street in town. The houses on this street aren't so close together, there are no sidewalks, and there's a guy back there who has room enough for his four horses. In short, it's as close to a country lane as one gets in my neighborhood, and it's amazing how different it feels. Sunday mornings on this street make me feel like the world has slowed down, that everything has has paused to take a breath and -dare I say it- things are finally quiet. Without the traffic sounds and the barking dogs and the sound of children playing down the street, I can hear birdsong come to the foreground. I can actually hear the wind as it skims through the tree branches making the leaves whisper. I can pinpoint just exactly where each sound is coming from.

It's amazing how the quiet hits you, really. Hearing the absence of sound is just as powerful as hearing a very loud noise, and when I run into the quiet on this street early Sunday mornings, it feels like I'm someplace else. Like this soundscape is out of place, here in the middle of suburbia, and I realize just how used to the scoundscape I am. All this white noise around me all the time is something I've become so accustomed to that I really notice when it's gone. And I know, as I stand on this quiet street that the world around me is continuing to sound in its cacophonous way... even at 7:00 am.

It's what I imagine being in the eye of a storm must be like.
And I am aware that this post makes me look very hypocritical after my post yesterday.
Oh, well.

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