Sounds of UnSilence   3 comments

Anyone who says the suburbs are quiet must live in the city. Even here, which falls on the country side of suburban, complete silence is rare. In fact incomplete silence is rare. I’m not talking about the pleasant sounds of birds, crickets, peepers, and cicadas. I’m talking about machines.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is.

Fall?

leaf blower

 

Winter?

snow blower

Spring and Summer?

power mower

I grew up on city sounds, where the noise, other than honking  horns and sirens, is more of constant, a type of noise that one grows so accustomed to that it is no longer heard. As for sirens – up here we not only have the sirens sounding from ambulances, police cars, and fire engines, we have the air raid type siren that summons the volunteer firemen and EMTs.

And oh yes, then there’s the mother of all sirens, the ear-piercing Indian Point nuclear power plant alert siren that is tested regularly. These are mounted in strategic spots in every town within a wide radius of the plant, and take it from me, if you happen to be next to the one in the shopping center in Peekskill, if you survive a nuclear meltdown, you’ll do so with impaired hearing!

But back to the ubiquitous leaf blowers, I don’t think I ever saw one until I moved back to New York from California.  I do remember when I lived in San Jose, reading how Palo Alto wanted to outlaw leaf blowers, and wondering what the fuss was about. I guess that’s because my neighborhood had lots of shrubs but few trees. Someone down the street had a cluster of palm trees on their lawn, and everyone had a city-planted curb strip tree, but leaves they shed could easily be wept up with a broom.

Then I moved back to NY, (in the fall, wouldn’t ya  know!) and rented an apartment in a private house in Harrison, a town of massive trees. Being home all day until I found  a job, I was treated to the full effect of lawn blowers underneath my windows every Tuesday when the gardener made his rounds.

But I hadn’t seen anything . Those days were quiet compared to up here – where it seems everyone and his brother has a

chain saw

– the bigger and more macho the better. They run them in spring to clear away any trees who bit the dirt, or I guess I should say bit the snow (or vice versa) over the winter. Then they power them up again in summer and fall, to cut up those same logs to burn through the winter.

Oh, and did I mention

generator

Before I even open my eyes, I can tell if there’s been, as the utility company gently puts it, a power interruption over night. These little generators produce more noise than they do power!

But come once a year, I get my revenge when I power wash my deck each spring!

 

 

And tee hee, bonus! This week I hauled it out a second time to power wash the house. But I’m all done, and as soon as these babies dry, out they’ll be back in the shed –until next year.

 

 

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3 responses to “Sounds of UnSilence

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  1. Ah, revenge! But seriously, your noise tolerance depends, I think, on the extent of the noise dampening insulation in your home. Our condo is very noise-proofed—and that’s a must, since we live on the harbor and have planes, ferries and fog horns announcing their comings and goings all day long! Fortunately, gardeners are only allowed to use equipment once per week. But I do remember, when I lived in the suburbs, having the peace and quiet disturbed on a regular basis by the very machines you mention>

  2. I can’t relate to the snowblower, generator, or pressure washer, since we don’t have any of those…but I sure do hear plenty of lawn mowing, chain sawing, weed eating, leaf blowing, and tractor noise, thanks to Ed. I wouldn’t want it any other way, though 🙂 What’s really bad is when my brother-in-law starts having target practice with his big guns–that sound a lot like cannons! The cats spread in every direction, ducking for cover, and I feel like doing the same.

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