The Druid cried “Peace!”

And there was no peace. No, I’m not talking about a lack of war, though that is certainly something I have shouted about before, but rather the sort that happens in the phrase that ends, “and quiet.”

Today has been a lovely day here in the northern suburbs of New York. I found myself thinking of how many summers have gone by where I was indoors (or incars) 24/7 only to realize in the Fall that I had missed the whole season. So I decided to go out to our landlords’ rather large backyard and just spend some time listening to the sounds of summer.

Cars and trucks driving by, planes droning overhead, hammers and powertools around the corner where yet another house is being built on land that had been nothing but trees a few weeks ago. Off in the distance, a train’s whistle and a freeway’s roar. From the landlords’ house, a television chattering and an air conditioner whirring. Every now and then, in between the raucous sounds of human technology, I could hear a bird calling or some crickets chirping. In occasional moments of relative silence, I could hear the wind rustling through the trees. That was it.

I found myself wondering just exactly where one can go to completely escape this other kind of air pollution. The middle of the farming country? Nope, too many tractors and pickups roaring. The middle of the Rocky Mountains? Nope. Have you ever seen the map that CNN shows when talking about airplane traffic patterns? During the daylight hours at least, every square mile of the USA seems to have one of thousands of planes flying noisily overhead. The South Pole? Maybe. For now. But it’s hard to get to and from, especially for brief trips.

Perhaps I can find an island somewhere…

(Phae has just reminded me that I can always use the “Summer Night” circuit on our white noise generator!)

About Isaac Bonewits

World famous (or is that notorious) Druid/Wiccan/Heathen/Santarian author, speaker, pundit, etc. Google me to see what I've been doing with my life and what my friends and enemies think about me.
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4 Responses to The Druid cried “Peace!”

  1. zyalia says:

    One day not so very long ago, I sat in the garden of Lord Haldon’s Manor in Dunchideock, Devon. It was early spring and the stone bench was a bit cool, but the tea was warm and so was my heart. I sat there sipping and listening to the birds and the cows and virtually nothing else. My friend Simon came out and said “what are you doing out here all on your own?” I replied, “Listen.”
    He cocked his head for a moment or two and smiled ..”I don’t hear anything…” he said.
    “Exactly,” I answered, sipping again. :)
    There are still places in the world where cars and airplanes and power mowers occasionally bow to birdsong and lowing, if just for an hour or two now and again. I have learned to really cherish those times and places as I find them ;)

  2. ibonewits says:

    They are hard to find, but such treasures when we do!

  3. niamh says:

    I’ve avoided commenting because of my tendency to rant on the subject, but it was so nice to see I’m not the only one! It comes of having possession of senses I think. It seems as if folks don’t have much in the way of attunement to the senses they were born with. Folks seem to be far less aware of the influence of noise and fragrance pollution on their general well being. Perhaps I am over sensitive. Though I have to think that my ancestors would find the strength of my senses woefully inadequate. I’ve just re-read Diane Ackerman’s ” A Natural History of the Sense”, so perhaps I’ve just got that on the brain :) At any rate, I can certainly relate to what has been said here. My neighbor has been building what I am certain is the North American Taj Mahal for about the last year and a half. There are an awful lot of ninnies in this area with an enthusiasm for odd, experimental aircraft though. Occasionally, even down on the quiet family farm something strange will fly over. I think that aggravates me more than autos or even the gun club a couple of miles away.

  4. ibonewits says:

    “Fragrance pollution” is a wonderful phrase! Living with a couple of cats who stay indoors most of the time, I certainly can attest to how deadened one’s sense of small can get — thank the Gods!

    Keep your camera handy, just in case one of those experimental aircraft starts making right hand turns at 200 mph…

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