Favorite Sounds

Julie Andrews sang about some of her favorite things in The Sound of Music.  Well, I have favorite things too and some of mine, are sounds.

“Silence is golden, golden,” rings in my head.  It’s a lyric from back in the day (1967, Tremeloes).  About the sentiment, not so much, for me.  Nothing creeps me out more than hearing my own heartbeat.  Analyze that, ha-ha.

Andra Day sings “the silence isn’t quiet,” in an awesome song called Rise Up.  And in one of my favorite songs, by Heart, These Dreams, we hear in part, “every second of the night I live another life… the sweetest song is silence, that I’ve ever heard.”

So, songs, silence, and sounds are understood in paradox; one moment one thing, and the next moment another meaning presents itself.  I do enjoy silence from talk, periodically, and I work best in silence.  When I’m working, there is enough rolling around in my brain, that any other sound is overload.

White noise, however is a must in order for me to entertain peace.  Peace and quiet from peopley noise, yes; but nature noise or industrial noise is a must-have.

I’m a big fan of white noise.  As a teenager, the clothes dryer created that white noise in my household.  I’m good with dishwashers too; and any kind of fan is a delight.

On an early spring, cool evening, after a long day, one of my favorite sounds when resting on the sofa, is the fan from our fireplace insert.  When it stops, needing fed, I’m disappointed.

I’m somewhat averse to pet birds.  But I love to see and especially hear birds chirping outside in the springtime.  It’s cheerful, not to mention hopeful.

Probably the most frequent subtitle my husband and I have observed while watching foreign TV shows and movies is, “birds chirping.”  In fact, we laugh now, every time it appears on the screen.  “Those birds are back at it.”

What seems like a scene straight out of one of my favorite movies, Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds, used to play out in our bamboo grove every fall.  Now that the bamboo is gone, the generic black birds which number in the dozens, maybe hundreds, roost across the road in the very tops of scrubby no-name trees.  They all talk in unison as if it’s a bird convention.

Winter seems to me a silent season, we’re insulated indoors by intense quietude.  Somebody surely invented the saying, “cabin-fever,” in winter.  On the contrary, spring speaks life, new beginnings – “life springs eternal” says more about the season than a water-fountain.

Peepers, spring frogs, overwhelm the air with their song, along tree-lined paths nearby.  Before I knew any better, I thought they were extremely loud crickets.  Keen observers of their surroundings, they cease their chorale when I approach parallel to their habitat.

I’m not unhappy with mechanical white noise, thus the clothes dryer, dishwasher mentioned above, but a white noise machine doesn’t fall on deaf ears in our house.  Mine is set on an industrial fan sound.  I’d probably sleep like a baby in an industrial warehouse or some such place.

A luxury tree house in the woods next to a flowing stream would suit me just fine.  I’ve got a recording of such a rushing stream on my phone, for emergencies.  Even a screech owl would be a welcome visitor.

I’ve never been one to dislike city noise: honking horns, cars buzzing along, sirens, etc.  In contrast, the silence of a country night can be very unnerving.

In fact, my first night, living deep in the country after moving from the city, was sleepless because something was missing, sound.  When the power goes out at night, my eyes pop wide open in direct response to the extreme quiet.

The “chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga, woo-woo” of trains on television, to the sounds of the real rails is a fairy-tale come true for me.  Train noises, just like walking onboard a moving train is probably an acquired taste, but it’s my kind of flavor.

I like all kinds of music but the best for me is classical, with no words.  I don’t want the distraction or to expend the effort to process the message.  I like just letting the sounds elicit whatever reaction they elicit, without the help of someone else’s interpretation.

I’m not thinking I could do the vow of silence required by some religious orders.  Me and my kindred spirits that got bad marks in elementary school for “talks too much” would suffer inordinately, to stay silent.  We’ve got stuff that needs saying.

This is not to say that the sound of my own voice doesn’t get annoying.  I’d much rather hear a baby babbling, doves cooing or the pitter-patter of rain on a metal roof.  It’s all relative, the sounds we like and the ones that grate.

But I for one am grateful for sound, and silence for that matter.  I’m glad to have heard the hum of a full beehive, thunder on a summer night, and even the gentle but resolute snort of a fleeing black bear.

I have too many favorite songs, I think, but this one hovers near the top of my list (Bing Crosby; writers Regney Noel/Shain Gloria Adele); Do you hear what I hear? …a song, a song… Pray for peace people everywhere….”

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