The sounds of silence…

040805rain.jpg 040805rain2.jpgI grew up in a wood frame house with a tin roof and the sound of rain striking that roof provided background white noise to sleep by on many nights.

040805rain2.jpgI grew up in a wood frame house with a tin roof and the sound of rain striking that roof provided background white noise to sleep by on many nights.

The next several homes were apartments where our ceilings were someone else’s floor so the sounds of rain falling on tin were lost. When we bought a home in Illinois in the 70s, some of the pleasures of hearing rainfall returned with a stucco roof. That pleasure disappeared again with the move to Washington in 1981. Our condo was on the first floor of 18.

Our return to Floyd County brought back the sounds as we lived, for a while, in my childhood home while deciding whether or not to build a new home, rennovate or purchase an existing domicile. Then we found the home on Greenbriar.

We moved in during winter and spent our first night with all the windows closed. The first thing we noticed was the sound of silence. Nothing. No noise from surrounding woods. Nada.

Two nights later it rained. Again, silence. No wind noise, no sound of rain hitting the roof, not even the sound of raindrops striking the thermopane windows. I suppose we should expect that in a home that separates us from the elements with mutliple layers of cinderblock, brick and masonite and a double-layer shingle roof packed with RU-39 insulation.

Wind noise? Not really. We hear the roar of high winds when they top 40 mph or so but no rattles from the windows, no shake from the house and no banging of shutters. The silence is errie, surreal and required some adjustment. In Arlington, we grew accustomed to the wails from sirens of police cruisers and fire trucks during the night, along with the roar of jets taking off or landing at National Airport. The other day, a Navy A-6 screamed low overhead as I was heading out the driveway. When I got back home I asked Amy is the jet startled her. “What jet?” She hadn’t heard it.

As the weather warms, we will open the windows at night and the sounds of nature will finally filter into Chateau Thompson and the sounds of silence will be broken.

About time. A person can only take so much peace and quiet.


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3 Responses

  1. Don’t worry– you’ll get used to the peace and quiet very quickly. After 15 years of country living, I now have to wear earplugs in order to sleep at night when I visit the city.

    We’ve just started opening our windows in the evening here in the Ozarks and the singing of tree frogs is a great lullaby. — Joyce

  2. Doug: Your childhood memories of rain hit home. As a youngster I lived at cliff’s edge in the then wilds of Big Sur.My family had a tin barn and my father, a writer, had turned the tack room into a combination writing studio/guest room. It had a wood stove (the coast had no electricity) and when it rained I’d ask if I could take my sleeping bag there so I could fall asleep to the ‘tinkle’ of rain on its roof. One evening, however, a storm hit the coast – and our barn. It was impossible to sleep, but the power of water on the roof was thrilling – and an night I will never forget. I wish every city-child had the opportunity to (safely) hear/view the rages of a storm unleashed! Thanks for the memory! elgee

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