One of the things I love about the summer is how noise carries through the air. Noises seem to come from much further away, and yet they are somehow muted and soft. I sit on my back deck, close my eyes and listen. Being in the city, most of the noises are urban ones, and whether it is because of the quality of the noise or some misplaced Wonder Years coloured view, it sounds like 1960s suburbia.
As you sit quietly and listen you’ll often hear a lawnmower or two droning on. Not quite on this street, but somewhere close. There’s often the throaty sound of a V8 opening up on the nearest major road; a short burst of aggression since there isn’t too far to go. Maybe the sound of a car rumbling in a garage purrs a little bit closer, as some weekend warrior wiles away the time tinkering. A soft wind in the trees is punctuated with the joyful squeal of kids on the playground two streets over. That melody is balanced with the low staccato rhythm of a barking neighbourhood dog. And as a small engine plane lazily drifts overhead you can almost hear the sunshine baking everything in sight.
Sitting on the porch at the lake is very different, but somehow holds much of the same quality. There the sounds are predominated by the wildlife: swallows flitting, geese calling, frogs croaking and squirrels chittering. The wind is more prominent, too, as it winds its way through the many poplar leaves. But the quiet crunch of a car on the gravel is a rarer sound, replaced, at the height of summer, with the noise of a powerboat roaring off to great adventure. The happy noises of kids at play are still common, but like the locale, they take on a wilder note as the kids venture into territory unknown. Water lapping, a distant radio slightly out of tune and the busy noises of wood chopping as a fire crackles and pops somewhere down the beach. Its almost as if you can hear the lazy bustle of the city replaced with the idle puttering of vacation.
I imagine that the noises of summer are as unique and personal as our address. But in this modern world of constant activity, it is soothing to stop and listen. To remember a time when, romantically, people were less hurried and summer lasted forever. When next the sun turns all its glorious warmth on your backyard, sit quietly and just listen. It’s an easy luxury that many don’t take the time to enjoy.