Most of the time, I’m in love with sound.
Birdsong is sweet enough to make me weep. The shuffle of wind through the trees, different at different times of the year, is like a whisper of nearly comprehensible voices. Waves lapping on the shore provides a delightfully monotonous easing of tension.
Most especially, the sound of my husband’s guitar, stroked tremblingly to life as his hands roam softly or wildly across the strings. Others’ songs, his own songs, always guaranteed to make me stop whatever I’m doing to let the sounds seep inside.
It is now, however, the season of insensitive sounds. It’s the 4th of July. With it comes the celebratory noise of fireworks, tolerated because of the beauty that accompanies them and their brief duration; and the absolute insensitivity of fire crackers, which as far as I can tell, exist only for the noise.
Some people, obviously, consider this good sound, too. They explode them regardless of the time of night, ignoring the fact that some people need to get up early and are trying to sleep; and that some animals are terrified of them. My beagle is one of them.
Makes no sense, I suppose. Beagles are supposed to be hunting dogs who are comfortable with the sound of gunfire. Not Lady. She wants no part of it. The first time she heard gunshots after coming to us from the humane society, we were out for a walk. She turned around immediately and headed for home, tail down, head down, seeking safety as quickly as she could.
She has the same reaction to the firecrackers. As soon as they begin to explode, near to home and farther away, she heads for cover–under my desk if I’m sitting there; thisclose to me if I’m on the couch; on the bed if we’ve already turned in for the night.
I could grudgingly accept the obnoxious sounds for the sake of holiday revelry if it were limited to the holiday. But no, these insensitive sounds intrude both day and night long before the 4th and long afterward.
Noise for the sake of noise has no charm for me. I realize that it does for others. But, like second-hand smoke, it intrudes into the lives of those who haven’t asked for it, and, worse, on those like Lady who don’t even understand it. I’d be happy if firecrackers were illegal again, as they still are in some states. Or, at the least, that those who use them would limit their useage.
That, however, would require sensitive people.