An Archive of Growth?
Africa

Sit outside for about an hour. Write down the sounds you hear.

The new house’s location is so quiet. There is no ambient noise. We’re too far from the main road to hear the cars that we can see passing by, on the far side of the lake. (The vlei, as they call it here. As in “flay.”)

The quiet is peaceful, not oppressive. It allows me to hear other things.

There are birds around, and they make the strangest noises. At some point I will have to ask the neighbors or listen to some recordings to identify them. They are unlike anything I ever expected to hear.

(We also see the birds. A guinea fowl calmly walked across the road today, totally ignoring us. Herons have a distinct take off and landing flight path over the vlei.)

One of our neighbors is doing some kind of maintenance. All day on and off we heard drilling and hammering, but it was so distant that none of us cared.

And now that it’s late at night and the wind is up, I an hear it gusting, whistling through some crack I have yet to identify. I think it might be the corrugated metal roof of the garage.

EDIT: My mother is convinced the whistling is a bird. At ten pm. We’ll figure it out eventually.

We haven’t plugged very much in yet, so there isn’t even the white noise of electronics humming.

Today my dad highlighted the quiet as a plus, and my mom warned him that when people move away from areas with a lot of sound the quiet keeps them up at night. I think that might apply if we were coming from, say, NYC, where you hear multiple sirens an hour. But from central NJ? Nah. Distant traffic noise, electricity, the occasional train whistle. No worries.

Besides, I’m so tired that I’ll sleep like the dead.

Photo: Moi

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