Thursday, May 14, 2015

Urban soundscapes

Yesterday on my walk home I listened to the Indian and Cowboys podcast "Stories from the Land" and as I listened to these stories, while moving through traffic, sometimes able to hear well and sometimes not, an awareness of the urban soundscape struck me.  I was conscious of the efforts to navigate this noise.  I remembered all the times that we choose one street over another as it was quieter.  How hard it is walking with the children as cars can sweep away their words.  The neighbor with the horrible moped.  I thought about what an intrusion this noise it.  The costs of the lack of silence.  The lack of natural noises of animals and wind and water.

Cityscapes Portraits-9B
Andres Conztantini
I also though about all those sounds that I like to hear - the children playing, the neighbors chatting or playing their music, the hum of the furnace coming on - even the reassurance of the refrigerator running.  The little noises my cats make as they run past me outside.  The little dog cries when a friend won't play with him.

Even in the city I can enjoy the crunch of the fall leaves and the squeaks of new snow.  I can enjoy the eerie silences on certain weekends where everyone has left town.  I have gotten used to just ignoring the noises around me, ignoring this input into my mood and my ability to concentrate and communicate.  I want to take the children for a sound scavenger hunt this weekend.  To challenge them to be more aware of the sounds around us.  To challenge myself to connect with this other space in my environment.

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