After a late Saturday afternoon trip to the pub, I listened to the dusk chorus of robins, wrens and blackbirds while slowly making my way back to the warmth of my house. The accompaniment to these wanderings got me thinking, quite deeply. As I strolled along suburban lanes and across a busy main road, my concentration on those songs, bringing the day to a close, was interrupted by the passing of cars, vans and lorries.
Whether it is the soft but ever-present rumble of the far off A-road or the neck-less, under-developed one burbling past in his Subaru, road noise has an impact on all our lives. Even in the depths of the far off wilds of this nation, you are often never quite free of the background hiss thrown out by our metal dreams.
Many people in this modern world complain of the seeping, penetrating, all-pervasive presence of road noise in their lives; that it disturbs their peace; that it prevents silence. Yet, there is little silence in this world, and if there is silence, there is something missing, and something very wrong. As, if silence exists, other sounds are absent.
Wishing for silence is like wiping the paint from the canvas of a masterpiece. Wishing for silence means denying the chorus at dawn and dusk. Wishing for silence means hoping for a world empty of birds. Instead of complaining about road noise, we should be more positive, more aspirational, more in touch with the non-human world around us; we should be standing up for bird song.