We are surrounded by sounds.  I’m an early riser, and even in the solitude of a sleeping household, there are sounds – the hum of the refrigerator and the furnace or air conditioner, and the ticking of clocks – “. . .the sounds of silence”.


            If you are fortunate enough to live near trees and leave your bedroom window open at night, or make an early morning foray outdoors, you  are treated to the most beautiful music – the singing of birds.  From the chirping of the Cardinals, the chatter of the Tufted Titmouse and Chickadees and the warbling of the Blue Jays, it’s like having a private concert.  It’s their social time and they make the most of it.


            Other sounds invade the air in the early morning hours – the far-away whir of traffic on Route 11, interspersed occasionally by the louder sound of diesel engines on big trucks climbing the hill.  Barking dogs announce that they, too, are up and about.  In some places where I have lived, the crowing of roosters also was the signal of a new day.


            As the day progresses, so do the sounds.        For approximately nine months of the year, the sound of the school bus, mingled with the voices of children let me know it’s time to get busy with whatever that particular day holds for me.  When the school bus returns in the afternoon, the sound is much different – there is shouting and laughter. Air planes, big and small, criss-cross the sky; an occasional police car, fire engine or ambulance, siren wailing cut into the almost silence and is a signal to stop for a moment and offer a silent prayer.


            One can almost tell time by the sounds in some neighborhood.  First, on trash days, the recycling and trash truck arrive fairly early – but not quietly – then the school bus, followed by the opening and closing  of garage doors and the slam of car doors as neighbors depart for their places of employment.  The day has begun.  The U.S. mail delivery and the UPS and don’t have specific schedules, but their presence is identified by the distinctive squeal of brakes and the shutting down and starting of their engines.  And, of course, the door bell and the telephone – will it be good or bad news?


            Many people are intolerant of total silence, so they keep a TV or radio on at all times, with background music, talk shows or news.  I used to be one of those, but have learned to do without.  God gave us five senses – hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling and  tasting.  Being slightly visually challenged, I often think about those who are born without one or more of these senses.  I think living without the sense of hearing would be very strange. To be deprived of the daily sounds that surround us ; never to hear a new baby cry, a toddler laugh, the wind rushing through the trees, the booms of a thunder storm; a marching band, piano or orchestra concert, a car horn signaling danger, or a car horn signaling a friendly greeting, ocean waves crashing on the beach, a water fall or a stream running over rocks in the woods, the ding of the cash register or beep of the electronic scanner;  a beautiful soprano voice singing “The Lord’s Prayer”, or a crowd singing the National Anthem.  I treasure these sounds and it saddens me to think of people living their whole life in a void without them.


            We all know about stopping to smell the roses – I’m suggesting that we stop and listen – and be thankful for the ability.






  1. Jane Brewer said,

    July 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Beautiful reading!  Yes, we often forget to enjoy the silence.  Guess many of us are Martha’s instead of Mary’s.

    Busy, busy, busy…too busy to slow down and just “stop and listen.”

  2. July 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Lovely storytelling, Nancy. I prefer the quieter sounds, but you’re right — they all tell a story.

  3. Nancy Balavage said,

    July 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you, Bev. One of my favorite memories is sitting in the woods at a camp site very early in the morning listening to the world around me come to life. The kids were asleep in the tent, my husband had left for work and I built a fire, put on a percolator of coffee and just sat and listened. The fire crackled, the coffee perked, one bird started singing, another answered, followed by many more. Not any other sounds!

  4. Patsy Gallaher said,

    July 24, 2013 at 10:48 pm


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