I decided this morning to take a much-needed mental health day. (One of the perks of being self-employed. I can do it on a minute’s notice.) I thought about going for a walk in the woods but that’s not a good idea this time of year. It’s hunting season, I don’t own any neon-colored clothing and there are a lot of idiots out there.
So, out to the garden I went, to continue de-grassing the long-neglected beds. While I was digging and pulling I reflected on a conversation I had with a friend last weekend. He was jealous of the quiet he assumed we experienced. Quiet? Quieter than the city but definitely not silent. During my six hours outside, this is what I heard:
- Every few minutes, the distant roar of a jet winging its way to or from Atlanta International Airport. We’re about 100 air miles from there and on one of the flight paths to the Northeast. The planes are fairly high up by the time they get here, but not high enough that we don’t hear them.
- The whine of a smaller plane lower down, presumably on its way to one of the regional air fields.
- The occasional drone of a large truck on a main road about three miles away.
- The buzz of a chainsaw about 3/4 mile away. A neighbor is taking down some trees. Why, I don’t know. They were fine as far as I could tell.
- The “pop” of a handgun. Another neighbor is a gun enthusiast and has built an outdoor range on his property. He likes to target-shoot at least once a day.
- The “blam” of a shotgun. Remember? Hunting season?
- The guy up the hill yelling for his dog that once again circumvented the invisible fence.
- The pileated woodpeckers, crows and hawks calling to each other.
- The bark of several squirrels. It sounded like an argument.
- The quiet hum of a lone honeybee that came by every twenty minutes or so, presumably to check on my progress.
- The wind soughing through the trees and rattling the plastic making a winter home for the Rosemary.
And the thing I’m positive my mundane neighbors will never enjoy listening to:
- The quiet murmur of the evergreens. They’re not asleep like the deciduous trees and other plants, but sleepy enough that it’s more background noise to me than a conversation unless I really tune in, which I didn’t today. It’s comforting, nonetheless.
I must add the things that happen about once a month that one usually doesn’t hear in the city:
- Somewhere around 10-11pm, a low-flying helicopter, complete with spotlight. It’s either the Appalachian Drug Task Force or the DEA looking for indications of illegal activity that’s awfully easy to hide up here.
- The window-rattling roar of a low-flying fighter jet out of Dobbins Air Reserve Base, practicing mountain maneuvers.
Quiet in the country? No. But mostly peaceful.
It was a good day today. I’m almost back to “normal” in the garden – at least none of the beds are waving in the breeze anymore. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go wash my hair. It’s the only way to really get the dirt out from underneath your fingernails.