My world is full of noise.
For the most part, I don’t mind it. I turn on a TV show and watch, or pop a movie in the DVD player or queue one up on the DVR, and then use the sound system. I have two kids – enough said there. My wife does the dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming. The neighbors upstairs come home and you’d swear they’re hopping like kangaroos up the stairs. The heater/air conditioner comes on and the blower howls. The toilet flushes … here or in someone else’s apartment. Commercials. Videos on the computer. Heck, the computer itself, humming, whirring and crunching. Even our trips to the library are loud. The crowds have forgotten what libraries should sound like, and instead of enforcing common courtesy and rules, libraries cater to the inconsiderate slobs and build “reading rooms” where you can go if you need quiet. In a library, for Pete’s sake!
The kids are loud, sort of. We can’t hear the TV. We turn it up. They can’t hear themselves play; they turn it up. We turn up the TV again. They respond. I scream for QUIET!! – and don’t think I’ve missed the irony in that. This child’s singing. That one’s mastering sound effects – explosions, punches, grunting in pain, artillery fire, cars, ships, helicopters. This one’s getting louder so she can sing over the battle raging in the living room. The battle escalates in response. I scream for QUIET!! – and the cycle continues.
The car is loud. The traffic is loud. The birds start screaming and shrieking (and that’s not an exaggeration) at about 3:30 a.m. The expressway not far from us roars 24/7. A truck bangs and clatters along with whining wheels on its way to some construction site or destination unknown. Somewhere a train horn blares in the distance.
There is no quiet here. None. Never.
I think it’s starting to unravel me in a way. I want to escape to a place of stillness, quiet, and let my mind be released from the noise pollution pounding at me all the time. The constant bombardment everywhere I go is wearing, grinding, beating, driving. Long ago, my wife and I went for a drive in the country. We got to a place where model homes were being shown. The models stood in the middle of a farm area, and the roads were lightly used. The stillness, with just a light breeze riffling through corn stalks and trees, was amazing. We stood and just listened. To nothing.
Silence is truly golden.
I wouldn’t miss the sound of my daughter signing for anything. I wouldn’t deprive my son of his explosive and dramatic games of imagination. I wouldn’t ask my wife to sit in silence just to appease me. And God knows, I’m the loudest mouth in the world. But once in a while, I imagine what it would be like to be in a place where the constant noise is the pound of waves on surf and the cry of rusty-throated gulls. Or the breeze sighing in the tops of the trees in an old, blue-green forest in the crisp mountain air. Or even the rustle of a tumbleweed rolling over the hard-pack desert floor on its way to a new waiting place. (That last doesn’t appeal as much, but you get the point.) I value quiet more than I ever thought I would now.
Try as I might, I can’t get there. Can’t. Too much world, too much life in the way.
What about you? What are you craving? What’s itching under your skin that you can’t quite scratch?
Sound off and let me know, y’all.
All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
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