The Sound of Silence


153157136 (1) I’ve been thinking about sound lately. The digital version of The Fox’s Kettle will available through iTunes any day now and it’s coming out with audio. I did the recording and the publisher mixed in a few sound effects too: coins jangling in a silk purse, bird song, a collective gasp, some wonderful music. It was great fun!

As much as I love sound, however, I also love silence. I realized that when my computer motherboard died a month ago. It was a noisy old thing but I got used to its thrum and groan as it struggled under old age and limited capacity. Now that it’s gone, my office is blissfully quiet. And I like it that way.

Only this morning – a lovely, sunny summer morning – it’s not quiet at all. I hear the two resident hummingbirds making their unique buzz-whistle-chip sound as they dive bomb the flower border in an effort to establish territory. That’s a sound I like.  But the bullet-like rhythm of an air gun as my neighbour gets a new roof put on his house . . .  the pounding on a set of drums as the teen in the house on the other side practices . . . the frustrated bray of the beagle that lives a few houses to the south and is alone yet again?  Not so much. I have work to do; I need to concentrate. Even with the window shut  (and I don’t want to shut the window; summer will be over soon enough) the sounds are loud enough to leach through.

It’s making me cranky. If my mother-in-law were here right now she’d be able to concentrate. She’s close to deaf and doesn’t wear a hearing aide. But that means she doesn’t hear the fire alarm going off in her building (a neighbour has to bang on the door to alert her) or the hummingbirds, and she didn’t hear the pigeon fly through her bedroom window last week either. She only noticed him when he walked across the floor in front of her (thankfully heading for the open patio door). She misses a lot. I wouldn’t like that.  In fact, when I stop to think about it, there are many things I’d miss hearing if I were deaf:



A cork popping (such a happy sound)


Bacon sizzling

Wind chimes


Crickets chirping

Toast jumping

A cat purring

Typing on a keyboard


Children giggling

A New Zealand accent (such a sexy sound)


My kids saying I love you

Corn popping

The engine of a plane


Birdsong at dawn

Church bells

The phone

The whoosh of skis on snow

Fizzy bubbles

Dog nails clicking on the floor

A fire cracking

The symphony

A bee buzzing

Wind rustling leaves

A heartbeat

My husband’s soft breath in the middle of the night


After a minute or two of thinking, my crankiness dissolved. And I opened the window wider.


3 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

  1. Just as an exercise to drive myself crazy I sometimes consider which of my senses I’d miss the least, sight or hearing. The thought of losing either scares me to death, even though I now wear glasses and a hearing aid is probably in my future. If I have to give up one, maybe taste — it would help the diet. But then, never to taste chocolate, never to savour salt . . . No wonder the writing gurus remind us over and over to use all the senses in our writing.

  2. Loved this post – needed it more than I realized. When so busy, everything seems so ‘loud’. But even when I complain that its too loud and busy, I know one day I will miss it – so I have to be thankful and grateful for what I have, now. Thank you.

    1. My sentiments exactly, Lisa. Just thinking of my mother-in-law’s lack of hearing made me appreciate all the noise in my life the morning I wrote this post.

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