The Sounds of Silence

Friday, 29 Jul 2005 | Daily

Today marked my first full week of walking early in the morning before going to work. I feel a real sense of accomplishment and feel physically better too. My plan is to walk everyday during the work week and then rest on the weekends. If I get some walking in on the weekend, that's fine, but I'm not holding myself to it.

I generally get out on the street at 5:20 AM for my morning walks. As you might expect, it's rather quiet at that time. Well it is and it isn't. What I mean by that is since it's so quiet, you can hear all the sounds you don't normally hear in the daytime. It's easy to concentrate on these sounds since I rarely come in contact with other people. I would think there would be an occasional walker or runner, but so far I haven't met up with a single one.

When I first get outside, it's still dark and I notice the sounds of birds chirping in the trees. Then as I walk a bit, I notice the gentle hum of traffic on the freeway in the distance. It's rather a pleasant sound from this distance, not the annoying rumble you hear right next to it. Then I also notice the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement as I walk.

As it starts to get lighter, new sounds emerge. I hear the sounds of trucks passing me on the street. I hear the rat tat tat of sprinkler pipes filling with water followed by the spray of the sprinkler heads. A man walked out to get his newspaper and greeted me with a friendly hello and I said hello back.

There's one point on my route where I hear a truck with a trailer with it's engine running. The owner heats up the engine before leaving for his work. Occasionally I hear the sound of garage doors opening. As I near the end of my walk, the sounds of birds seem to multiply. Birds of all types including some owls that I mimick. This morning I passed a particular tree where the sound of birds was surprisingly loud. It seemed as if dozens of birds inhabited the tree. They weren't visible, so I couldn't discern how many lie inside, but I knew it must be very many.

When I return to my front door, I start to contemplate going inside and getting showered for work. It's then that the sounds start to blend into the panorama. As quickly as I became aware of these sounds at the beginning of my walk, with equal swiftness they disappear into the background as I return to the safety of home.

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