Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sound

As I exited the subway tonight, accosted by noise, I thought of all the sounds I encounter from work to home. It goes like this:




At work, in a model studio full of wood cutting tools -its the steady whistling wind of the dust collection, the circular screech of the sliding saw, the rattling of the bad bearings in the old band saw motors, the deep thrumming of the re-saw, the rhythmic wih, wih, wih of the disc & belt sander, the thrumping of the drum blower that sounds pretty much like a dryer full of sneakers, the whirring of the laser cutters' fans, the laser pulsing which sounds not so much like Star Wars but eeeeeeeeaaaaaaa as it scores and vaporizes wood and pulp, the rattle-knock of the air compressor blowing wind onto the laser's flame, the wah, wah, wah of the nail gun compressor, and the drill press, table saw, and the hammer, and the.....

Ahh, to leave such a place and enter the traffic noise of Columbus Circle, down quickly into the subway always just when the steely roar of the 1 train coming in, down another flight to the A/D platform. Here its the musician banging his drums, trains roaring in, roaring out, lookout -the blare of the garbage train horn and its locomotive humrumhumrumhumrum. Onto a train, screech and squeal, bing and bong. 

Finally my stop, in Middle Brooklyn, I exit and it always seems another train is roaring in on the opposite side as I exit. Man with luggage opens the siren's gate as I rush to the portal to the outside world. 

Outside the rush, the constant rush of automobile whooshing and occasional Harley thromping and garbage truck harrumphing as I am ear level with the Prospect Expressway in its last throes of 70 mph. This sound follows me to the overpass, the sounds of street traffic, the rolling steel gates crashing down. I turn the corner two half-blocks from home and hear the buzzing of the sodium halide lights of the nursery and then the turbulence of wind in my ears.  As I turn the last corner I can hear my footsteps. I slow. I pause at the front yard garden and it seems so quiet compared to the day's noise. I imagine silence.

But I know true silence. In it there is a ringing sound.


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