There’s much to delight the senses when warm weather arrives, but I believe it’s the soundtrack of summer I enjoy most. The crisp snap-slap of a screen door. The steady ka-thunk of soccer balls across the lawns. The jingle-clank of sailboat moorings. Now that temperatures are flirting with fall, I take stock of those sounds and listen a bit more closely, storing them up for the muffled quiet of winter.
Screen door sounds are part of summer's soundtrack.
Several houses ago, we lived in a leafy sheltered enclave. However, our backyard butted up to a busy avenue. We listened to the roar before buying but decided we could live with it. We likened the ebb and flow of traffic noise to ocean waves, the tide coming in and out with rush hour timing. And although it faded into the background most of the time, I hoped our next home would be somewhere peaceful and serene.
Upon moving to Minnesota we found a home overlooking a marsh nestled into trees at the end of a cul-de-sac. It was indeed quiet. Too quiet. Nothing much happened. The only people passing were those lost and looking for lake access. I loved to watch the wildlife but found myself missing the fray.
Our new (two years in) and hopefully forever home is in the thick of it. It's located steps from the city lakes with people-populated sidewalks and trails … and noise. Our street fills up with parking space hunters when the bands strike up down the hill. We can walk down and join the audience or sit on the porch and still hear. Yet we don’t mind. To us it’s the joyful noise of people working and playing, living their lives alongside us.
Just like before, we studied the neighborhood before making the leap. We agreed that we wouldn’t complain about unpleasant noises, since we knew this going in. We do understand when folks talk about the increasing thunder from airplanes as they lower themselves for landing. We understand when folks are upset about loudspeakers from the bandshell. Those people were here first, when it was a more peaceable place.
They have the right to be upset when jets wake them from their sleep. For someone like me, with a fear of flying, I watch the planes overhead and feel thankful for being snug at home. And when I do fly I think of all the planes I’ve seen going overhead that somehow made a safe landing, over and over again, and I’m reassured.
Sure, there are sounds that grate on the nerves, lawnmowers, loud engines, etc. I’ve even been known to moan when the birds start singing so early after a restless night. Still on those weekends when it seems everyone is at their cabins and the neighborhood is hushed, I find myself wishing for more than the distant hum of downtown.
We realize we like the hubbub, the hustle-bustle. For us the sounds of the city are truly songs in the key of life.