Storm and Recovery Sounds

Literature Blogs

To make writing “pop,” you need to include the senses. Today’s blog is about the sense of hearing… taken from my personal experiences of recent events.

Pre-storm, our neighborhood summer sounds were birds tweeting, rustling leaves as a breeze came through, and the occasional sound of motorboat or jet skis on the lake across the road.

Storm sounds: a very soft siren, then the howling screams of a mob of banshees as the storm passed, then earth shaking booms as the trees fell on our house, then eerie silence.

Week one post-storm: Between sunup and sundown, chain saws whirled. I wouldn’t say they were in stereo, more like in 360 degrees. Then, during the nights, window-rattling generators kept us awake. (We had a generator for only one night before our power was restored.) We couldn’t hear the very noisy generators during the day because of all the chain saws.

Weeks two, three and four post-storm (Did I mention we lived in a wooded neighborhood, and so there were many fallen trees?): heavy trucks, bulldozers, bobcats, wood-chippers, stump grinders, big-clawed things for grabbing chunks of tree trunks, trucks with tower cage – sidenote here: you can tell I wasn’t raised a boy who might know the names of these various trucks and machineries; that’s what research is for – and then, of course, the sound of chain saws during daylight hours. (Have I mentioned chain saws?) One night, we heard one after midnight. I’m sure it wasn’t a dream because both my husband and I confirmed it. Most peculiar.

Week five and heading into week six: heavy trucks, some dropping off dumpsters and storage units while others picked up tree trunk, with the SHHHHH sound, something to do with breaks. There was even a semi with a double trailer for maneuvering around our curves. There was also the beeping of trucks backing up, roof shingles scraped off into dumpsters (scraaaape – boom), circular saws (much higher pitched than chain saws) and the relatively quiet sounds of fifty or so people hammering.

I can’t believe how envious I am of people who have dumpsters. What a silly thing to crave. Well, perhaps not so much silly as never craved before in my life. There are about twenty dumpsters in driveways around here, which means THEIR houses are getting repaired. (I will not be jealous. I will not be jealous.)

This week I actually heard bird sounds, even amidst the hammering.

And just this morning, a dump truck drop off landscaping gravel to our neighbor’s house. It’s difficult to describe except to say it sounds like one of those cactus rain-makers with the thorns punched inward, and every time you tip it upside down, it sounds like gently falling rain. Of course, in this case, that “gently falling rain” lasted several minutes, preceded and followed by the revving of dump truck engine and squeals of gear changes as it pulled in and away.

I look forward to the sounds of hammers above my head, and then the sounds of birds. There is hope.

(P.S. Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!)

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3 thoughts on “Storm and Recovery Sounds

  1. Happy July 1st, Canada Day! from this CDN 🙂 and Happy July 4th! I think we sometimes take for granted our senses of sound and even of smell. Funny how good sound descriptions help us to visualize what is happening. I can imagine what is happening in your world by reading your descriptions of sounds. Be patient. The unwelcome sounds of chainsaws will disappear and be replaced by other more welcome “noise.” Maybe, from now on you will connect the sound of chainsaws with that of the survivor spirit and perseverance to go forward and rebuild. We humans are very resilient and hearty creatures!

  2. Nice insights, Kim, and amen to: “We humans are very resilient and hearty creatures!” Makes me think of the true pioneers. We 2011 Westerners really are quite spoiled. And still we whine on.

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