As the weather starts to turn colder, people try with all their might to grasp onto any reminder of the fleeting summer days that they still can. Today, with bright sunshine beaming down and the air a cozy 75 degrees, I tried to do just that. I had some time between classes to spend however I wanted, and I chose to sit on a bench next to my sugar maple.
As I sat with my tree during common hour, I was surprised by the amount of noise around me.
The roar of car and truck engines was very apparent as they all barreled down the street, eager to get where they were going. This constant buzz was interrupted every now and then by the screeching of brakes, or horns blaring. It was very difficult to get past all of the man-made noises surrounding me. Because it was such a beautiful day, people felt entitled to rev their motorcycles and contribute to the noise and air pollution. Every now and then the vehicular noise would die down just long enough for someone to shout across the academic quad to a friend.
All people around me seemed to be on the move. Everything seemed busy, hectic and chaotic. There was a cacophony of sounds, a blend of engines and horns and shouting voices. People seemed to be calling out just for the sake of calling out; as if they just liked hearing the sound of their own voices.
As the afternoon dragged on, people finally seemed to be reaching their destinations, and I eventually found my surroundings devoid of human interruption. There was a certain sense of calm around me. I was finally able to hear birds calling to one another, and crickets chirping. I was able to hear squirrels digging in the mulch and frolicking in the grass.
A gentle breeze would blow, and I could hear the soft thump of falling leaves as they touched down on the pavement. The leaves emitted a satisfying crunching underfoot of the occasional, solitary passerby.
Immersed in the relative quiet of nature, each individual noise somehow seemed more important, weightier; it was as if each sound had its own purpose. When only the sounds of nature could be heard, everything seemed extremely serene.
The trees contemplated their actions, and the release of leaves to the ground was calculated and premeditated. The squirrels carefully planned their every leap, assessed their next move. The sounds of nature seemed to work together, whereas the man-made sounds tended to grind against one another in a sort of competition to see who could be the most disruptive and jarring. The sounds of human society seemed deafening in comparison to their natural counterparts, as they drowned out the melodic wonders around me.