Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sounds in the South

Although the weather has been delightful and the scenery picturesque, I think that the most noticeable difference in coming to the deep South are the noises.

Evan as I write this, the serene quiet of the place is striking.  A few bird calls, an occasional rustle of palmetto fronds in the light breeze, but otherwise silence.

Even the cities have an almost eerie silence.  Walking around the historic centers, reading the plaques and peeking into hidden gardens, the traffic noise, dogs, sirens, street work, conversations, are completely absent.  People are immediately friendly, greeting as they pass on the street or on entering stores, but there’s not the constant rumble of sidewalk conversations and commercial chatter.  Joggers pad by, the occasional tour trolley and taxis, but it’s otherwise pretty contemplative.

The change comes in the evenings, when all manner of grunts, croaks, and rasps fill the swamps and marshes.  Sitting outside the hotel rooms, it’s impossible to pinpoint a source or direction: like a well-crafted symphony hall,the sound just envelops you.

By morning, nothing: just the hiss of ocean waves, quiet murmurs from early risers out for a walk and, distant thumps as trucks replenish the restaurants.

I normally have the buds pretty deep into my ears, but I’ve limited them to the car since I arrived.  The quiet is really infusing my soul this week, its an almost spiritual presence everywhere I‘ve traveled.

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