Posts Tagged ‘noise’

We’ve hit summer full-on now.  It’s in the 90s most days, and oppressively humid. I took an early morning run yesterday, listened to the birds out singing to one another.  It was early enough that only an occasional car swished by the park, and I opted not to turn my headphones on.  It’s rarely that peaceful here.

More than any other summer sound, I love the rising and falling chirp of the cicadas.  It reminds me of long hot summer evenings, chasing fireflies around in the yard.  And nothing to do the next day but the same thing. Three glorious months of vacation stretching out in front of you, timeless.

Ah, the sweet sounds of summer.  Children yelling back and forth to one another.  the wind in the trees, the rumbling thunder.  The roaring of lawn mowers, weed-whackers, mulchers, and trimmers spreading out over the neighborhoods until you can’t escape.  Oh, wait.  I hate that sound.

I make my living as a carpenter.  We’re a noisy lot.  Our company mostly does remodeling, so our noise doesn’t generally infect whole neighborhoods, but we certainly have our days.   But something about the constant noise of lawn mowers in the summer wears me down.  I can’t get away from it.  All day long, it follows me around as I go from job to job, out to eat, home in the evening.  Someone is always out mowing the lawn wherever I am.  For some reason, in the last few years I’ve been unable to tune it out.

Tim Robbins, in the movie Noise, played a character that went bonkers from the ever-present noise of New York City.  He began breaking into cars to disable the alarms.   I feel his pain.  For some reason it just sticks in your head; you become aware of it and then can’t return to a state of non-awareness.

Everyone would agree that car alarms are irritating, so why are power mowers acceptable?  Because some good comes of it: when the mowers go off at night, people’s lawns look nicer.

In my perfect world, we would live somewhat simpler lives with smaller lawns, and we could all use push reel mowers, like the ones they sell over at Clean Air Gardening.  In the meantime, I’m trying to be thankful for the order that comes from chaos when the lawn is manicured.  We can play bocce ball and not lose the balls.  And we can see the flowers we’ve planted along the edge of the yard.  I’m not as itchy when I walk through the grass.  And I have less chance of stepping in cat poo if the grass is shorter.  Music to your feet.

So there’s the metaphor for the day: my piano playing sounds noisy now.  Not constant grinding noise like a lawn mower or my violin practice, but intermittent, unsteady tones like a faucet dripping.  It’s annoying, but as I continue to practice each little piece, the random sounds become music under my fingers.


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