Posted by: A Part of the Solution | September 3, 2010

The Sound of Silence

Ok. Ok. I’m forever going on about how perfect it is up here. Guess what? There’s a sound, empirical reason for this tedious hobby horse of mine. As it turns out, day-to-day life really is a pastoral idyll around here. One of our WWOOFers used to look out at the day after breakfast, every morning, and say, “Another perfect day on the farm.” He was right. And he’d be saying it still if he hadn’t moved on to more challenging pastures.

Part of what’s perfect up here is the silence. Heck, the quality of the silence, even. Because, the farm isn’t really silent. Not from early in the morning well into the night. Nature is what makes most of the noise up here, though.

The birds sing, and the rooster crows and morning eventually brightens her face and begins. All that bird noise thrills the heart and reminds the mind how near one is to great swaths of unpeopled land. It also calls one back to a time when clocks were rare and the day began when the animals in your care said it did. That’s how I think of the rooster’s crow when I hear it.

There are the spring peepers down at the pond from almost too early in the year to believe they could stay alive in the cold until well into springtime. And the frogs in general, at our pond and those near-by, chorus out in the dark to woo their lady loves and stake their territorial claims. It’s a cheerful, haunting symphony every night around here.

Occasionally, there are the sounds of busy farm implements run by our industrious large-scale farming neighbor. The baler has a rhythm which brings to mind a giant heart-beat–and it makes it’s noise with a minor amount of industrial racket, the rest is conducted at a nearly-felt basso profundo.

One hears the neighbors’ cars and trucks zoom down the road more clearly here. I believe it’s because the sound of each motor is a distinct event, and not a blended collage of hundreds (or thousands) upon hundreds (or thousands) of repetitions each day. In between their passing, one hears only the sussurations of the afternoon breeze in the crop stands.

I have heard very little air traffic since moving up here. I can remember the no-fly curfew on DC right after the 9/11 attacks. The silence was remarkable, and somewhat ominous at the time. Now, I find the sound of the silence peaceful. Last week someone seemed to be taking helicopter piloting classes over the way. It was unusual enough to be noteworthy.

Most of our B&B guests, and volunteering CSA members, notice and comment on the quality of the peace and quiet we enjoy here. And then they go and take a nap for longer than they’d thought they might when they went to lie down. The silence is a notable soporific. And it seems to make one’s rest up here more restful.

Personally, the hammock calls to me for enjoying the silence in the warm months. The sofa in the parlor beckons in the cool months. And the silence is golden here year round.



  1. lovely prose!

    • Why shucks, the beauty of the place brings out the lyrical in me!

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