Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just Close Your Eyes and Listen

When you walk out the door, do you ever really hear the noises around you?

The sounds of the city are totally different from the sounds in the country.  I grew up in Chicago, where there is constant noise.  The block we lived on was half a block down from 2 major streets, so we always heard cars braking and horns blasting.  On the other side of one of the streets was the rail road line.  At night I could hear the gentle click-clack of the train rolling down the track and the lonesome wail of its horn.  On the other side of the railroad tracks was the expressway.  There were always cars and trucks traveling on it.  On top of all that, the airport was only miles away, so we could hear the planes taking off and landing.

Now, when we're at home, our ears are constantly assaulted by loud noises.  We live right in the middle of the city, a block away from a fire station and just a few blocks from a hospital, the expressway, and 2 different sets of railroad tracks.  We're very near the airport and planes are always lined up overhead, either taking off or waiting to land.  So when we're sitting in our front room at home, we hear a steady orchestra of fire and police sirens blaring, car horns beeping, brakes screeching, ambulances whining, airplanes roaring overhead, kids shouting in the church lot across the street, and lawn mowers humming.

But when we're at the lake, the noise is totally different.  We're out in the country, 10 miles away from town.  At night, the silence is hard to get used to.  It's so quiet.  But during the day, the sounds at the lake are actually pleasing to me.  Yesterday I was sitting on the deck, enjoying the afternoon sun, and I leaned back and closed my eyes.  For 5 minutes I laid there and just let the sounds of the country ring in my ears.  Here's what I heard in my 5 minutes of listening...

  • 3 different types of boat motors racing across the lake.  The noise that the huge cigarette boats make is totally different from the sound that a bass boat or a pontoon boat makes.  Even the way their hulls slam against the water sounds different.
  • geese honking
  • ducks quacking
  • carpenters shouting to each other over the constant banging of hammers and the buzz of table saws
  • a lawn mower
  • a leaf blower
  • a dog barking
  • 4 distinctly different bird calls
  • a car driving down our street
  • the wind rustling through the leaves overhead
  • kids shouting
  • a motor cycle on the street across the bay
So here's the weird thing.  During the day, I prefer the sounds of the country.  They are less harsh and much more relaxing.  But at night, I need the noise of the city in order to sleep.  I love to lay in bed with my window open and I actually like to hear the truckers shifting gears on the interstate and I strain to hear the rumble of a train going down the tracks.  If I'm lucky and the conductor pulls the horn, I'm asleep in seconds.....

Try it the next time you're out in your yard.  What sounds do you hear??

Don't forget about my Light Load Towel Give Away.  To enter, you have to go back to the original post and leave a comment here.


  1. We live right outside the city. Busy roads are just a mile away, as well as the train tracks. I can hear the train day and night. My favorite night time sound is the chirping of crickets....and my fan.

    1. Crickets are a good sound too. Ours aren't out yet this year.

  2. I live about two blocks from a major freeway, so there is constant noise at my house. I love going camping (especially backpacking) because it is so silent. Only the sounds of nature to lull me to sleep.

    1. Since you're on the west coast, what are the nature sounds you hear the most?

  3. I love to wake up to the pre-dawn birdsong. It beats jumping out of bed to the morning news. I love your post. We all need to slow down & be mindful of each moments & the sounds it brings. xo

    1. We do need to take more time to stop and listen, don't we?

  4. Great post! It's funny how a person can hear things. The other day I heard a new bird sound on Cayo. It stopped me in my tracks. "What was that I thought?" People were talking to me and I just stopped listening and walked into in the woods. Scraped with mangroves a half an hour later I returned to where I came from. The people were gone. I finially caught up with them and apologised for leaving so sudden. I have heard the sound only one time since. That was two weeks ago. My mangrove scars have healed but I can still hear that sound that I have yet to identify.

    1. Once you figure out what it was, be sure to do a post about it and let us know. It's going to drive you crazy until you figure it out!

  5. I grew up in the country so it was pitch black at night and heard the cows, geese, dogs, and tractors while at night it was the bullfrogs and crickets. In my mid-twenties, I moved in with my brother who lived in town (which is probably a suburb for you. It felt like daytime at nighttime because of the streetlights lighting things up and the sirens....lawdy mercy!! I vividly remember one day I was sitting on the couch and a kid ran past the window. I was like WHAT WAS THAT!! Then another kid went by but stopped and looked in. I about fell out! We were used to seeing horses that got loose looking in the windows not PEOPLE!, haha

  6. I always notice the lack of noise whenever we're on vacation, especially hiking in the woods. We hear birds chirping and squirrels rustling about in the leaves. You can hear yourself breathe when you're hiking. We always marvel at the lack of airplane noise, you can go days without even seeing an airplane. I love it and I certainly prefer it to the noise of the city. Just the other day at home I was thinking to myself that there should be a day of the week when no one can mow their lawn because that's all you hear around here all summer. And I despise the cicadas once they start altho I do like the sound of crickets and bullfrogs.

  7. I don't miss the airplanes at all either. And at the lake, we hear the lawn mowers and leaf blowers constantly.


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