On sounds

I got dive-bombed by the barn swallows this morning on my way to feed the chicks. They’re back! They are so very beautiful, even their angry twittering when they swoop my head is lovely. I am reconsidering my plan to have a wild bird-free potting shed; I have spent days keeping the */&# sparrows out of it, but now, well, now the barn swallows want back in. If bird flu comes to our shores, I might reconsider, as the shed is where the chicks spend their first few weeks. But: the barn swallows are back!

Sounds are a nice benefit to farm life: the sounds you hear are, in the main, not man-made, and so they’re fairly welcome to tired ears. People say it’s so quiet here and I end up thinking you must not be listening. There are sounds a plenty, but mainly they’re not as strident as city or suburban sounds. One of my favorites is the noise the pine trees’ cones make after a rain. They close up, you see, during the winter and when it rains; when spring comes or things dry out, the cones pop. It’s a small sound, something between a snap and a pop; on a windless, dry day, you can walk out there and it’s positively crackly. Mostly, though, it’s just a small little blip you hear.

Tick, pop, tick.

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8 responses to “On sounds

  1. Hello.
    I have fond memories of barn swallows as a child in Illinois. There was a large barn, pretty much abandoned, next door to us. I always loved the early summer evenings when the temperature began cooling down because we’d sit outside enjoying our little oasis acre while watching the barn swallows chase the insects. So Midwestern.

  2. I love barn swallows, as well.
    Every year they build nests in the barn and earn their room and board by clearing the mosquitioes. However, they do cut down on grooming time, because one of the nests is always directly above the beauty parlor section of the barn. It is impossible to dawdle over tails and manes when round hungry faces are looking down at me urging me to leave, so dinner can be delivered.
    I’ve never noticed the pinecone sound. Thanks, I’ll be listening now.

  3. I love the sound of pine trees. Even when the air is still the trees still make sound, and the slightest beeze is like music.

  4. Lovely post. Largely, it seems and is really quiet because there are few constant, thick and totally enveloping sounds like traffic. So people notice what is missing, rather than what is there. Filtering those urban sounds is very exhausting, people don’t realize how stressful and fatiguing that is to them. Maybe that is also why they don’t hear things, because they spend so much time shutting unwanted noise out.

  5. BB! I am so glad you’re back in the blogosphere. I adored the picture of your garden; you must feel so grounded to be moving around in the earth again. Happy harvest ahead.

    Pamela, how great: a beauty parlor section of your barn. Yes, I have noticed the babies ogling me when I dash in for a shovel or seed packet and I usually try to rush right back out. Aren’t they great?

    Verde, I love the muted hiss of wind through the pines. We’re surrounded on two sides by them, young and old. It’s a nice feature. I am always surprised by how they change color, too.

    Nada, exactly, that’s quite what I meant by “tired ears.” What I find is that I am quite put out by a lack of filtering: my husband, for example, is out mowing the lawn right now and I find the noise of it all so highly annoying. (The grass clippings are gold, though.) It factored in to the removal of our guinea rooster, too, he of the alarmist vocal propensities. Even wind chimes tax me! Ah, just give me the noise of the pines, the twittering of an oriole…

  6. El – Didn’t you know that, hell is the sound of someone else’s wind chimes?

  7. So true, this post.

    My ears each work day go from rural solitude with all of the natural sounds and quiet noise to work in a big city some 35 miles, and a world, away. The noise of the city and the filtering required does wear you down. Some beautful spring or fall days I can’t stand being inside and open the office door for the supposedly fresh air and the sounds of the city with the sirens and traffic, the car stereos blasting thumping rap music and the people walking by bellowing into their cell phones just ends up wearing me out. When I get home the first thing I do when I get out of my car is take a deep breath, inhaling the “quiet” filled with the murmuring of all the life around here and letting my ears relax.

    It’s funny, El. As long as we’ve lived here I never realized the worm noise until you mentioned it but I’ll be darned if the first time it rained after I read that, I heard them. Made me ridiculously happy, too.

    I know. I’m a dork. But a happy one when I’m here surrounded by all the quiet noise. And you can bet I’ll be listening for the pine tree noises now.

  8. Nada: When I was a city person I conspired with another neighbor to do in a third neighbor’s chimes. Let’s say that one night they went missing (and not by me) so I guess that’s a universal, isn’t it?

    Kellie: Very interesting. Maybe you’re even more sensitive because you do that back-and-forth so often. I ate in a restaurant with my boss the other day and we were criticizing the space because it was so bright (bright being a techy term for “loud”) and we went through what all we’d need to do to soften it. It’s a project of ours so this wasn’t idle conversation. But I brought up the point that this restaurant is in the relative boonies, so maybe a nice boisterous restaurant is something we ruralites actually crave when we go “into town,” town being a relative term. I adore my trips to the city, mainly because they’re trips, not extended stays~! I never used to feel this way… And yesterday, I harvested some green garlic. I tapped my digger to free it of its dirt after the digging and thwipthwipthwipthwip! The worms retreated. I was giddy.

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