Brakes are squealing outside the garage window; the guys are here to pick up the recycling bin. Yes, I'm obnoxious, I recycle. There's a huff -- the sound of air releasing -- that follows the high-pitched metallic screeching from the truck because it has air brakes, I think. Not sure. Must look that up.
We have two clocks in the garage, and both tick. They're on either side of me so it should be like stereo ticking, only they're half a second out of sync. I can tell you which clock is which from the type of tick: the tap of the one I bought at the dollar store, and the click of the one the kids gave their Dad for Christmas, which is all silver so their old parents can't see the hands very well (which is why there are two clocks in the garage.) I want to pull the batteries on both and restart them so that they're both in sync. Sometimes I want to throw out all the clocks in the house. I never do either.
My daughter is composing music using a free trial download of Finale Songwriter software on her computer; she has been in semi-secret for some time now. She was finally happy enough with one piece to allow me to hear it yesterday. She didn't like it (of course) but it was just like her -- gentle, whimsical, and haunting. I loved it. It's now stuck in my head and plays on an endless loop. Because it's her music I don't mind, although sometimes what she does with her music scares me a little. I love music but I'm tone-deaf and I can't even read it; I can't help her with this. I'm still buying her the software, of course.
I have chronic bronchitis which gets worse during the first month of summer when it rains almost every day. I'm now just getting over a moderately bothersome flare-up, so when I exhale the remaining constriction tags any deep breath with a little whistle at the end. It's annoying, I feel a bit like a tea kettle that can't decide if it wants to boil.
The wrens are in the yard, and so are the cardinals; I've been here long enough to separate their songs now. We haven't had too many blue jays this spring, so I rarely hear their unpleasant noises. The various hawks that usually hang around our pines at the back of the property are also off somewhere else. Wrens cheep, cardinals beep, blue jays fuss, but hawks really do scream, in a piercing, single-note fashion. I still think of screams as extended sounds, however, so I revise that in my head to a cry. Hawks cry. The two sandhill cranes I discovered in the yard the other day are bitching at each other somewhere in the neighborhood; I can hear the very loud clatter of their bills echoing outside. The little white herons picking bugs out of my neighbor's grass make no sound at all. I was never much of a bird person before we came here; now I'm mildly obsessed with identifying and learning about them.
Someone's lawn man has gone to work a few streets over, but if I listen hard I can hear beyond that. I can hear another neighbor's tractor as he mows his pasture, the faint sounds of rumbling and rushing of traffic from the state road, and the occasional booming and hammering from the construction site a mile away. Then a twin-engine plane hums overhead, the pitch rising and falling as it approaches and departs. It's a week day, a busy day. The world rolls on.
When we first moved here I thought it was too quiet. I grew up three blocks from a private airport and I've always lived in the suburbs or the city; I'm used to a lot of noise. Sometimes the silence seemed so profound I felt as if I were in a vacuum, but now my ears are clearer, sharper. There seems to be a lot more I can hear, so much more when I was living in busier, crowded places. I'm paying more attention, I'm hearing the world differently. How many things did I miss when I wasn't listening?
All right, your turn. What do you hear right now?