The Village Voice

The resting instinct of human beings is not very developed, and even people who are not bound by work are easy to continue to work for too long. Psychological stimuli are often strong enough to make us ignore physical warnings, and there are common devices, such as a pipe, that can be used to mask signs of fatigue. But approaching the danger zone of fatigue, one well-known symptom often emerges is an oversensitivity to sounds, especially noise, to which the energized, not overworked brain is almost indifferent. There are cases where weary people can hear the doorbell of a house many meters away, and when ordinary city sounds begin to become unusual allergens, it serves as a reminder to those who can afford vacationers: they should go to the country . Because it goes without saying that part of the rationale for a country holiday is ear care. The great silence that covers the mountains is more rejuvenating than sleeping.

It is said that the noisiest things in the world are sunspots, roaring eddies of gas in the sun’s atmosphere, sometimes thousands of kilometers in diameter, yet we often hear nothing of the swirls Huxley saw in every organism. sound. Matter and energy are constantly in and out, it is the noise of molecules, and it seems to us that everything is quiet! There is combustion and explosion, dissolution and hydration, reduction and fermentation; life, as Sir Michael Foster once said, is “a vortex of chemical and molecular changes”; yet our ears still fail to hear the slightest noise. In the woods and pastures around us, in all these growing creatures, in every dividing cell, there is extraordinary skill and chromosomal rigour, and yet everything is quieter than pantomime. Whitman has written about the hustle and bustle of wheat growing, but we feel that the distinctive feature of life processes is their silence. In the streets of life, how silently do houses collapse and build again; how silently do the molecules of these colloid masses rush past each other like ghosts! Lucky, for us, so lucky; we enjoyed the silence in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life in the countryside, and the sound of a steaming locomotive in the distance was greater than the sounds of millions of animals and plants combined. Loud, unless it’s bird song season (some golfers complain that larks on the course put them off the ball), or unusual, somewhat contrived occasions such as the separation of lambs from their mothers. The whole night was full of noise then.

In temperate countries, where drastic changes are rare, much of the voice of the inorganic world is muffled. Indeed, there are thunders rolling, waves crashing on the shore, the roar of storms, the ominous noises of avalanches and landslides, the bursts and roars of forest fires, the groans and wailings of earthquakes, and the roar of floods all the way, but all of these are more or less. Or less, always unusual. What we are more accustomed to, what we have fallen in love with, are softer, more subtle sounds, with a dash of music—the ocean whimpering, the forest wind rustling, the creek singing, the rustling of crunchy withered grass and shrunken pasture , the dry land greeted the heavy rain with a long breath, and the breeze accompanied with a soft sound, shaking the bluebells dried by the roadside, or making the aspen leaves tremble, or making the heather a few times, or The chattering whispers entered the mouth of the rushes by the lake.

It always seems worth recalling that for billions of years, the voices of inorganic matter were the only voices on earth, because they did not find their voices until after life had gone through many extremely long periods of nurture. Insects were the first to break the silence, and, as we all know, the sounds they make are almost entirely instrumental. The squeak or buzz is mainly due to the rapid vibration of the wings, often hitting the air more than a hundred times a second, but sometimes near the base of the wing there is a special flutter instrument. The squeal or flutter is due to some kind of “friction articulation” organ, one hard part scraping another hard part, like the bow of a violin – maybe the legs scratch the wings, maybe the limbs scratch the body. The real sound, produced by the vibration of the vocal cords caused by the airflow in the windpipe, started in amphibians, but it wasn’t until the advent of birds and mammals that the sound became fully effective.

In general, temperate inorganic sounds are not as strong as tropical ones, and so are the sounds our animals make. Heine defines silence as talking to an Englishman, and the implied reproach here presumably includes British animals as well. What we have is pitiful, how can we compare to the serenade of the warm country tree frog, the orchestral music of grasshoppers and cicadas, the chatter of parrots and monkeys! Except when birds are courting, our country is of course very quiet. We visited an apiary the other day and there were about a hundred hives, full of bees, coming and going along the wide glass-covered corridors for viewing the hives, like the Strand during crowded hours. . There are hundreds of thousands of bees, and while the hum is stronger than we’ve ever heard before, even a path of flowering European linden trees just fills the air with a pleasant, trembling murmur.

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