Noise and the absence of noise – End of the Day for June 6, 2014

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It gets quiet here at night. The sirens of the day become fewer, although they occasionally disturb our evenings — as do the helicopters, but for the most part. nights are just about as quiet here as anywhere you might live. Sure out on the desert or out in the country you may find less manmade noise, but I know from personal experience that the sounds of frogs and cicadas can become so loud that your brain to starts to block them out for you/ It is quiet enough here I can hear the opossum as they wander about the garden, heard the heavy thudding of raccoons on the roof and the mating songs of the mockingbird that continue throughout the night. 

These brief respites from the noise of the city helps me get through the noisier parts of the day. I still hear the cacophony of the city life but if I am well reseted and had a quiet evening, it doesn’t both me as much. That said, the constant hiss of the distant freeway traffic or the random revving of leaf blower wear on me more than I would like to admit. With these noises, I only really notice them consciously when they are absent.

Sedona Trip

In the past, I have described be in the middle of the open desert, or high up in the mountains, as almost painful. Your ears have been tamped down by the constant noise. They seem to open up, further and further, as they reach to hear something, anything in this much quiet environment. After a n hour or so, the sounds of starting your car, or crunching gravel or a high flying jet can seem louder than the firetruck siren as it passes. I am always struck by this when I make a stop during a long desert drive. You get out of the car and something just feels strange. Things don’t sound right. This is the effect of noticing the absence of noise.

For me, it is imperative I get out of the city on occasion to somewhere where the noise is removed and I can think for a while. When I am trapped in the city too long I can feel the tension start to creep into my body. I being to hunch over, my brow knits and — looking in the mirror — I can see it in my face. Too much of this and life gets quite unpleasant both for me and those around me. Even after so many years in Los Angeles, I am still a country boy at heart and probably always will be.


Previously on End of the Day:

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