The Sounds of Summer
The dull thud of the concrete truck, as it starts to regurgitate its contents, penetrates through the closed windows that keep the neighbourhood sounds at bay. The building sounds we daily hear in stereo punctuate our waking hours, and has become a rather odd soundtrack to our lives. It is a continuous reminder that we live in a new neighbourhood where palatial homes seem to sprout from the dust.
Summer has thrown a thick blanket over the abundance of sound that prevailed during the winter months, when we could live with our windows flung wide open. With it, the rhythm of daily life has changed. I can still hear the metallic clang of the gas truck’s bell as it slices through the air, but the more melodic call to prayer, which demarcated my day with its regularity, has become barely audible.
Gone are the exuberant songs of the birds frequenting our neighbourhood. Although still there, they sound subdued, lethargic and muffled. I never thought I would, but I miss the hysterical warning calls from the plovers that successfully raised three chicks. It is a sound that I have come to associate winter with, but now they are grown and a hush fills the empty space these anxious calls have left.
The dominant sounds now comes from invisible cicadas and crickets. The shrill mating calls from the male cicadas fill the daytime hours, while the crickets frequent the dark of night. The vocal ferocity of both pierce through the windows and walls and invade the cool interior as a sharp reminder of the shimmering heat outside.
I no longer hear the roosters in the neighbourhood, the exotic cry of a peacock, or the oddly out-of-place bleating of a goat. The neighbouring children’s squeals of laughter that punctured the dark of night as they frolicked past my bedtime, enjoying the cooling breezes of winter, no longer lull me to sleep.
I feel robbed of the layers of sound that surrounded me during winter. The drone of essential appliances is all that I am left with, and they leave me disgruntled and longing for winter to return.