I’ve spent the last 12 days up in San Francisco. It was a long stretch.
Last night I slept in my little suburban house, a window open over the bed. As I lay there, in the brief quiet moment between putting down my Kindle and surrendering to sleep, I noticed something.
I love cities. Love the constant change, the crowded sidewalks, the windows into businesses and lives. But boy they sure are decibel-intensive. When subjected to constant noise, it seems a part of our brain dedicates itself to dampening the effect. So the experience of living with noise is not one of sound, but of cotton balls in sound’s usual place.
Last night’s quiet felt like illness lifting. Peace. Pain no more. Pleasure. Sigh.
This morning hordes of birds are out in the trees, twittering. Chirping, cawing. I wish the crows would find another neighborhood – but at least I’m not dulled to it all. I’d rather have capacity to notice, even if it’s crows, than systems in place to ignore what can’t be tolerated.
So here’s to the suburbs. Or more accurately, nature. Absent a hill or a meadow or lake, one can find a city park nowhere near a freeway. Freeways are the worst noise, constant, whirring, roaring. Too low to make you leave, too high to go unnoticed.
I think all we need is enough space in noise to notice sounds. If there’s no noticeable nature in your vicinity, my strategy has always been to find a place where you can look up. Sky is pretty quiet.
Here’s to peace, however it finds you. And weekends. If there are hugs and kisses, even noisy ones, bonus points.