Early this morning I sat on my patio. I was looking forward to a little silence. Instead, I noticed the roar of traffic in the distance. I listened to garbage trucks making their rounds, and airplanes flying overhead. There are builders working down the street. The echo of their hammers reached my home.
I considered how bombarded the modern world is with sounds. Many of them unwelcome. I thought about what a challenge it was to experience some true silence.
I am not 100% sure, but I believe our ancestors had more opportunities to enjoy this experience. Some parts of the country and world have considerably less noise to contend with than I do.
I’ve heard the term sound pollution depicted as environmental exposure to high levels of sound. It generally involves workplace machines, aircraft noises, and poor urban planning. I considered the loudspeakers, car alarms, motorcycles, and firecrackers we have to contend with, as well as lawnmowers, power saws, sirens, and more.
I read: “Unwanted sound (noise) can damage physiological health. Noise pollution can cause hypertension, high-stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful and disturbing effects.”
I’d like to suggest we find a wooded area, a state park, a beach, a trail or any place where we can soak in some silence and bring our energy inward This would be a healthy alternative to constantly focusing outside of ourselves and being unaware of the sounds in the background.
Being still and quiet is a luxury most of us need.
Perhaps you could find a way.
One last thing. I used to have my students close their eyes and listen to the background noises in their vicinity. The hum of the lights, the voices of people in the halls, the shifting of feet on the floor. We’d decide who noticed the least obvious sound. And the bonus of this activity: we slipped in a little time of peace which, fortunately, they did not resist.
You might want to try it. It can help you and children to become more aware of the sounds in the environment and enjoy the silence.