Friday, August 26, 2011

The Noises I Hear

I live on a military base in a house up against an elementary school. Every day I hear the children playing in the school yard now that the new school year is started. I can hear the bell that rings every morning at eight thirty calling them to class. I can here the teacher's whistles as they line up their wards during physical education. I hear when the school day ends, but that is not all I hear.

My environment has changed. The only things I heard through the walls of the house I lived in growing up was the wail of sirens from police cars and ambulances, or the tuned motor of a car or motorcycle. There was the occasional sound of a plane flying over. Maybe a person making a U-turn in the front yard since we had no sidewalk, only gravel.

Now there is the whining of cargo plane engines. My husband sits next to me and tells me their names. He tells me why he knows which ones they are. It is because of a whine they make, high pitched and piercing. Its different from engine to engine. I lie in bed and hear them taking off and landing. The line is nowhere near my house, yet they are still loud enough to hear. They are loud enough for him to know.

There is the clack clack clack of a train over tracks that run through the base. I hear it at night mingling with the whine of the engines.

There is the Big Voice being tested. The bell that rings from the towers that run down the streets break through the walls as if it is joining me in the living room or bed room. The ringing ends and a voice crackles from the speakers. To hear this I must stick my head out the door and strain my senses, otherwise it is only static. When the towers ring I dream of worlds thought up in science fiction stories where an unnamed person speaks to the masses to make them hear. I hear, but I can't understand what they are saying.

These are the noises I hear.