Monday, 16 October 2017

Cogitation on Silence and Noise

Late Sunday night and the world feels different.  It does not take long to recognise the reason, it is the resounding silence.  There is no football hullabaloo in front of me, no cars passing by outside, no young girls screaming in the park, no young males impressing them with their noise, there is school tomorrow and all that homework still to do.  There is even an absence of aircraft overhead, no quiet voices of passers-by, no footsteps.  All is still.  
Silence, something we are no longer used to.  Something I notice only when I have no radio or TV blaring, no football in front of me, no music, no sound.  All this silence appears a strange experience to me now.
Once, before the motor car and the radio it was always like this.  Small market towns had their own daily sounds, loud voices were not uncommon then as now especially when the pubs emptied but there were few if any motor vehicles with polluting engines, pollution was the responsibility of factories and they were closed on Sunday nights.  No workmen's carts would trot slowly by however the local gentry might pass in their Brougham on their way home from a free dinner.  On the edge of town animals in the fields might be heard, nocturnal creatures on the hunt, an owl or a few bats and in the country there are always noises nobody comprehends and does not wish to investigate. 
How quiet life could be before the motor car and electronic devices.
Perhaps we avoid life by hiding behind such electronically produced sound and thus fend off the need to think and face the reality of our lives.  Bread and circuses for the many in the modern day.

After eight in the morning the contrast is clear.  Already the barking of happy dogs with wagging tails with torpor filled owners following has been heard.  The bread van snarls it pollution spreading diesel 7:5 tonner up to Sainsburys, cars driven by Monday morning blues ridden owners head for work in shop or factory, and soon dragging schoolbags behind them the future of the nation appear slowly making their way to the school Stalag.  By nine the streets are busy, shoppers appear and the sun decides to shine when most folks are in work, isn't that always the way.  On Radio 3 a soprano warbles uninvited and behind me the kettle boils noisily for third, or is it fourth time drowned out by passing white vans rushing into their busy day.  All we need is the police round the corner or the ambulance from up the road to announce their arrival by blare their siren and the day will be complete.
Maybe I ought to go back to bed...?

Going back to bed was a good idea, I heartily recommend it.  In fact I recommend it so much I may return there once I have eaten something for lunch.  
Lunchtime certainly is not quiet.  Next door the builders hammer and bang, lorries back up across the street, cars waiting for builders lorries to move allow me the pleasure of their poor taste in music while they wait, and on top of this I have been back in the BBC iplayer.  This gave me five Radio 3 Essays on the Great War by Sir Hew Strachan a historian of repute.  (Do you ever hear of a historian being called anything else?  They are never referred to as 'dodgy' are they?)  This series is about 'The Long Road to Peace' and well worth a listen.  These fifteen minute programmes suit me as if they get wearisome you can dump them soon enough, I listened to all five.
The noise levels grew also as the street life became busier and the world went about its busy business.  I added to the cacophony by setting aside a few minutes to listen to AC/DC offer us one or two of their melodies, well if 'melodies' is the correct term with AC/DC that is!  Just in case a neighbour was in I used small earphones and now I am not sure I can actually hear the traffic outside as tinnitus appears to last longer than I thought.  

Storm Ophelia has been filling the news today.  This was a hurricane at one time but now is referred to as a mere storm even though it manages to reach over a hundred miles an hour in parts of the Republic of Ireland.  This is not one of the usual left over US hurricanes, Ophelia never moved from the eastern Atlantic and has begun to move north picking up large portions of Sahara sand with it.  This sand is they say much finer than that found elsewhere, whether this is true or not the sky has turned a yellow colour above us this afternoon and in some places a deep red has appeared in the hazy clouds.  The picture is quite close to how it looked at one point and the air is filled with a heavy scent, with fine bits going up the nose I noticed.  As darkness falls the sky changes colour and with the storm heading north the sky will clear by the morning I suspect.  The storm has caused much damage and several people have been injured and a few killed.  Here the sky has changed colour, the trees shiver in the wind and the slow traffic reveals the rush hour at its height.
I may as well go back to bed...


Suza said...

so amazing. wonderful pictures. The moon is so beautiful.

the fly in the web said...

I remember Sahara sand settling on London years ago...the exact date eludes me, of course...and the plague of unfortunate ladybirds, too.

Out here in the sticks there is never complete silence...insects whirr away, a distant publicity van hawks its wares, dogs bark, coyotes yelp, Don Jose sings and swears alternately as he wends his way home by crossing the river rather than using the road....

Lee said...

I love quiet....

Adullamite said...

Suza, I love the moon.

Fly, Ladybirds and sand have been before, the ladybirds from Holland usually. I would love to hear Don Jose going home.

Lee, It's good for you.

Jenny Woolf said...

Now you mention it I remember how silent suburbia seemed in the evenings when I was a kid. I used to listen and hope to hear the icecream van but I rarely did.

Adullamite said...

Jenny, The world was quieter.